Loyola Marymount catcher improved greatly to be selected by Reds, his favorite team growing up
By Cody Pace
CINCINNATI -- Even though he wasn't taken in the first two days of the MLB Draft, just being drafted in the 12th round shows almost improbable improvement for Cassidy Brown.
Brown, a junior catcher at Loyola Marymount, didn't always have a positive outlook for his professional career. As a freshman, he hit .200 in 25 starts, and the bat only got worse his sophomore year when he hit .138 with no extra-base hits in 47 games.
"Things happened, and they didn't go the way I wanted them," Brown said. "To even be able to have this opportunity right now is pretty remarkable."
Brown knew that if he was going to have a chance to continue his career, he was going to have to make some adjustments. He went to the Cape Cod Summer League for college prospects last summer and hit .277 with 12 extra-base hits. He carried that over to Loyola Marymount, hitting .325 with six home runs and 24 extra-base hits in 53 games.
"I was able to make some slight swing adjustments," Brown said. "It was nothing major. I did a little bit with my timing, set up a little not as wide and kind of just got a little more rhythm into my swing. But the swing itself was kind of the same swing. I didn't make any huge adjustments. Just more timing things. It was more a mentality, get up to the plate, and I felt a lot more loose and free."
For Brown, his selection was a dream come true. Brown grew up as a Reds fan in Hudson, Ohio.
"It started with my dad. He grew up in Columbus and liked the Reds, and I kind of took after him and always been a Reds guy," Brown said. "To be able to get drafted by the Reds is awesome."
As a player, Brown offers plus defense with the potential to carry over his bat improvements.
"He was our team MVP by far," Loyola Marymount coach Jason Gill said. "He led our team in a lot of different categories. He's come a long way offensively, and in terms of a catcher, he's an everyday, defensive catch-and-throw guy. He can block, he can throw. I think the area scouts in our area had him turned in as early fourth, fifth, sixth round. I think you might be getting a pretty good steal in that round."
Of course, the bat will continue to be the question for Brown. While he doesn't necessarily have 30-homer power, he showed an ability to put the ball in the gap, and Gill thinks he could develop into a 15- or 20-homer guy at the next level. He's also shown the ability to hit the ball to all fields, which has helped him tremendously in his offensive development.
"He started carrying his swing toward the middle of the field," Gill said. "He's gap-to-gap right now. He can go both right-center and left-center. That's one of the reasons his batting average jumped up so much."
Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.