That Brown and Palencia are both starting 2023 in Tennessee’s starting rotation is mildly hilarious. Brown is a head taller and looks about twice Palencia’s size on the mound. He still seems a bit on the thin side, but he’s generating plenty of power with his long levers and his clean delivery. Also unlike Palencia, Brown can fill up the strike zone. The questions about his future revolve more around finding the right mix of stuff to complement his mid-90s fastball than around mechanics or command, and that’s a great place to start.
It’s hard to maintain two distinct breaking balls. One has to learn to keep them separate, to sequence them correctly, and how to calibrate their use based on the handedness of opponents. Brown can probably manage that, though, given the success he’s already had at Double A and on his command profile. His range of potential outcomes remains wide, but a solid mid-rotation starter seems like the best individual bet. That would be a huge win for the Cubs, given that they got Brown for just three months of relief signee David Robertston’s time.
We're down to just a few weeks left of minor league baseball. The South Bend Cubs will see their season end in just a few days, while teams like the Tennessee Smokies will extend into a (hopefully lengthy) playoff run. Who's fueling these teams in their last days? Who's struggling headed into the winter break?