Cubs Prospects

After torrid start to season, Ben Brown could soon be factor in Cubs rotation


At the conclusion of last year's trade deadline, most noise surrounding the Cubs had to do with the surprising outcome of holding on to both Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, who were both widely expected to be traded.

Beneath the fanfare of not moving the team's two high-profile offensive trade chips, the Cubs quietly made an exchange with the eventual pennant-winners that is looming large in the early months of 2023.

After a solid 36 games as the Cubs closer with 14 saves and 51 strikeouts in 40.1 innings, veteran right-hander David Robertson was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Ben Brown, a minor league righty starter who was a 33rd round pick out of high school in 2017.

Up until the trade to the Cubs, Brown had been a mixed bag in the minors in the Phillies system. After a promising start at rookie ball in 2017 and the first part of 2018, injuries began to hamper his development.

After pitching 13.2 innings of scoreless ball at Single-A Lakewood with 20 strikeouts, Brown underwent Tommy John surgery and didn't return to professional baseball until 2021.

Brown appeared in just seven games in the Phillies system in 2021, struggling to a 6.19 ERA with appearances at both the Rookie and High-A levels. The prospect totaled eight walks and 17 strikeouts across 16 innings.

In search for a veteran closer to suit up for a deep playoff run, the Phillies dealt Brown in the middle of what was a resurgent season, where the righty compiled 105 strikeouts to just 23 walks in 73 innings with High-A Jersey Shore.

Brown immediately joined AA Tennessee upon arrival, and went 3-0 with a 4.06 ERA across seven starts, with 13 walks and 44 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Brown, now 23, has continued to showcase his swing-and-miss repertoire during his first taste of AAA ball, where he has posted 58 strikeouts across 38.1 innings with the I-Cubs, good for a 3.52 ERA.

The right-hander was promoted earlier this season after allowing just one earned run across 20 innings at AA Tennessee, with six walks and 30 strikeouts.

Now ranked the fourth-best prospect in the Cubs system, the 6-foot-6 hurler carries a diverse set of pitches that makes it no mystery as to why he is inducing strikeouts.

In addition to a whistling fastball that peaks up to 98 miles per hour, Brown also mixes in a power curveball that sits in the mid-80s, registering as a useful pitch to throw both in and out of the zone.

Brown also wields a hard slider that can reach the low 90s, and while still a pitch in development, it serves as an excellent complement to the tall right-hander's abilities.

While a resurgent Kyle Hendricks has given some clarity and reinforcement to a Cubs rotation led by veterans, an injury to Justin Steele and struggles from Hayden Wesneski have shown noticeable holes that the Cubs have had to address.

Although translated success to the big leagues is no guarantee, Brown's power pitcher frame and repertoire combined with his steady upward trajectory since returning from Tommy John surgery two years ago leave the Cubs in promising hands the next time help in the rotation is needed.

Contact Us