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Braves prospect watch: Rome catcher Logan Brown

Logan Brown is quickly showing he could provide valuable depth at the catching position for the Atlanta Braves.

Rome Braves catcher Logan Brown bats. Wayne Cavadi | Talking Chop

You aren’t going to find the Atlanta Braves catching prospect on any top 100 prospect lists. Right now, you won’t even see him on the Braves Top 30. But the Rome Braves backstop is off to a red-hot start behind the plate.

It’s time to pay attention. Let’s find out just who Logan Brown is.

Small college beginnings

Like another scorching hot teammate, Justin Dean, Brown got his start in Division II baseball. The backstop and infielder put together a solid junior season, helping his Screaming Eagles reach the DII baseball championship — Division II’s version of the College World Series — for the second time in his three years in Evansville.

“You got to,” Brown told me about playing with a little extra edge at a small college. “Division II obviously isn’t going to have 30 scouts a night there. I was always told that if you’re good, they’ll find you. They found us [he and Dean], doesn’t matter the round, right?”

Brown, son of former major league catcher Kevin Brown, slashed .338/.412/.470 in his junior campaign. Juniors from DII baseball, especially bats, are not populous in the MLB Draft. Brown had a feeling he had a chance, and sure enough he got one. The Braves took Brown in the 35th round of the 2018 Draft. He spent the rest of the 2018 season in the GCL hitting .272 with three home runs in 37 games.

A log jam behind home plate

Brown came to Rome this season in what would appear to be a platoon role. Ricardo Rodriguez, another catching prospect a whole year younger than Brown, would share time behind the plate.

“We’re very fortunate to have two really good catchers,” Rome head coach Matt Tuiasosopo said. “They challenge each other, push each other. I feel very comfortable with either out there. They control the running game, they can throw anybody out.”

The platoon hasn’t seemed to phase Brown thus far. He’s hitting well, and playing sound defense behind the plate.

“Really you just got to go out there and take what you can get and show what you can do,” Brown said. “There’s definitely a traffic jam, but I’m happy wherever and whenever I play.”

Defensively, Brown has the build to fit the part. The 22-year-old is listed at 6’0’ and 195, and has a cannon in his right arm. He’s thrown out five base runners already on the season — one at third — and for the most part rifles strikes. He has a solid pop time, clocked just a hair over two seconds on two different occasions. Is he the perfect catching prospect? No, but an added bonus is that Brown is aware of it and working to only get better.

“I definitely need to hit the receiving extremely hard,” Brown said after a Thursday night victory in Rome. “I had a couple of drops, and I just wasn’t feeling solid with my performance behind home plate. It’s something Wiggy [Wigberto Nevarez] and I will continue to work on. Got to work on a little blocking. My arm feels good, so we’ll just go from there. There’s no sense in pressuring it, it will show.”

“He’s working at it with Wiggy,” Tuiasosopo added. “Receiving, being able to steal some pitches, you know, work on the framing. He’s doing a great job everyday. It’s about putting the work in, and he’s doing it. We’re seeing the results every game.”

Brown first impressed in the batting cage on the Tuesday before the season opened. He made plenty of contact, loud contact at that, and seems to have a good feel with the barrel straight through the zone. He stands deep in the box with the bat twirling pre-pitch, elbow back as you like to see, and takes a very defined leg kick towards the ball. He’s been known to try and lay down a bunt, but for the most part makes solid contact.

Thus far, Brown has had a lot of success to the pull side. He’s been fooled on some breaking stuff, but there aren’t many who aren’t their first run through full season ball.

2019, so far

What’s not to like about Brown? He has three multi-hit games in his last four starts, going 6-for-8 in his last two. He’s slashing .474/.500/.737 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI. One thing that is a bit concerning is that he has yet to draw a walk to four strikeouts, however, that’s also because he’s making plenty of contact. He has never really shown strikeout issues in the past, and walked 11 times in those 37 games last season.

On Friday night in Rome, he had a chance to throw a base runner out at second. The throw was there in plenty of time, but he missed just to the left of the bag. The next two runners weren’t as fortunate, as Brown nailed them both. He’s now thrown out 5-of-10 stolen base attempts on the season, three of which have come in his last two starts.

William Contreras is seen as the future behind the plate in Atlanta, but depth at back stop is surely something the Braves are in need of all the way up the ladder. Brown is quickly showing he could be a steal of a late rounder in the early goings. If he continues to put in the work, he’ll be a valuable addition at every stop he makes.

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