On January 2nd, the New York Mets reached agreement on a minor league deal (with a spring training invite) with outfielder Andrew Brown. Brown, 28 (now 29), had an established reputation as a AAAA slugger. He hit 29 home runs in 2012 splitting time between AAA and the Colorado Rockies and had been viewed as a potential sleeper, much akin to outfielder Ryan Ludwick who followed a similar path before hitting 51 home runs in his first two seasons as a full-time starter in St. Louis.
How he handled the bat:
Andrew Brown was expected to contend for the Mets’ open outfield spots but struggled mightily in spring training. As such, he spent the first month in AAA Las Vegas before getting called up when fellow outfielder Collin Cowgill was optioned on May 3rd. Brown played in six games (three starts) and hit .200/.294/.400, including his first home run as a Met against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11th. That wasn’t enough to keep him up, though, as he was optioned back to Las Vegas before being called up for good in June.
Brown’s best month was arguably August, when he hit .357/.386/.571 while receiving more playing time in the wake of Marlon Byrd‘s trade to Pittsburgh. He would struggle mightily in September though, leading to an overall mediocre line of .227/.288/.400. He did show off very good power, with 7 home runs in only 165 plate appearances. As comes with the part-time slugger role though, Brown struck out 44 times in 2013, while only walking 13 times.
How he played in the field:
Brown only played 248 innings in the outfield, which is hardly enough to draw an accurate assessment, but his defense was by no means a liability. His 0 DRS and -2.6 UZR are both largely neutral, and his career rates (+3 DRS, +0.7 UZR in 522 innings) suggest that he can play a corner outfield position capably.
Projected role for 2014:
Andrew Brown will likely hold a role similar to the one he held in 2013. He can be an effective part-time outfielder and a solid power bat off the bench, but will likely find himself in AAA to start the season if he’s still with the Mets next year. Some of the outfielders likely available (Shin-Soo Choo, Andre Ethier are two names connected to the Mets) this offseason show growing struggles against left-handed pitching, so having an outfielder who can fill in as necessary could prove valuable as Sandy Alderson navigates this offseason. And having one with Brown’s power potential (46 home runs between the majors and AAA in 914 plate appearances between 2012-13) could certainly be an asset.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors:
Because of a lack of service time, Brown won’t be arbitration eligible until 2016, so cost isn’t a concern with Brown. The Mets’ 40-man roster crunch however, could lead to Brown being DFA’d this offseason. While not guaranteed, it wouldn’t be a shock for Brown to be claimed by a team, much as Robert Carson and Mike Baxter already have been this season.
Though there’s no ruling anything out, it’s unlikely that Brown is included in any significant trade talks.