The 29-year-old Brown was once lauded as one of the five best prospects in all of baseball, coming off a season in which he batted .327/.391/.589 in 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A as a 22-year-old. Brown debuted with the Phillies late that season but didn’t hit much, and he struggled to produce in both 2011 and 2012 as well. In total, the former 20th-round pick batted .236/.315/.388 across his first 147 Major League games, but he looked to have turned a corner in an All-Star 2013 season.
That year, Brown hit .272/.324/.494 with 27 home runs and, from May 1 through mid-August was among the most productive hitters in Major League Baseball. However, Brown’s excellent production was bookended by a pair of feeble stretches at the plate, and he was unable to replicate that production during a 2014 campaign that saw him post a disappointing followup line of .235/.285/.349.
In all, Brown’s brief run of production in 2013 now looks like an outlier, but he’ll hope for a rebound and a return to the Majors in 2017 after struggling through 126 games with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate last season (.239/.303/.336). Of course, the Rockies hardly present an easy path to the Majors. With left-handed hitters David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez all set to comprise the starting outfield for manager Bud Black (plus lefty Gerardo Parra as a fourth outfield option), there are no obvious spots for Brown to make the roster. Instead, it seems likely that he’ll look to rebuild some confidence in the hitter-friendly confines of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (more specifically with Colorado’s affiliate in Albuquerque).