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2023 Cubs prospect profiles: Ben Brown

Beginning our profiles of prospects in the Cubs system with their top MiLB pitching prospect, Ben Brown.

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Dylan Heuer

Based on Fangraphs’ top 52 prospects list, minus the players who have already been profiled. Triple A and Double A players that might see the 40-man roster at some point.

Ben Brown is the Cubs’ No. 3 prospect according to that list. He’s a tall righthander with a high 90s fastball and a strong curve, that’s currently a starting pitcher for the Iowa Cubs. The Cubs got Brown from the Philles in the David Robertson deal, and he’s doing well so far, had this to say:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55

A 6-foot-6 right-hander, Brown uses a high arm slot and blows his fastball by hitters, sitting at 94-96 mph and peaking at 98 with armside run. His power curveball may be an even better pitch, sitting in the mid-80s with downer break and eliciting a lot of swings-and-misses in the zone and chases out of it. He also has a hard slider/cutter that can reach 91 mph and stands out more for its depth than its horizontal action, and he’s working on developing more distinct break with it.

Because he has missed so much time as a pro, Brown has barely begun work on his changeup and threw just two in 31 innings after the trade. He keeps his long levers in sync but has inconsistent control in part because he tends to work at the very top and bottom of the strike zone. The Cubs love his mound presence and could have a mid-rotation starter or late-inning reliever on their hands.

That all sounds pretty good, but how is he in action?

92 IP, 57 BB, 130 SO. 1.403 WHIP. That last could drop a bit.

Let’s take a look:

He’ll be joining Jordan Wicks in the rotation soon. Everybody says so. He’ll be at Spring Training, is on the 40-man roster. Brown had a late-season injury and pitched in relief during September, but he’ll be back in the starter role in 2024.

Maybe in Chicago, but it’s unlikely. But Patrick Mooney said he might be the one the Cubs have been waiting for {$}.

“The way he’s pitching in Iowa, he believes he’s a big-league pitcher. That’s the confidence that’s going to serve him really well.” — Jed Hoyer.

Tommy Birch is likewise high on Brown.

“He’s going to be really good,” Kyle Hendricks said.

Here’s hoping they’re all right.