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St. Louis Cardinals acquire center fielder Gary Brown off waivers

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Who? Why?

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals claimed Gary Brown off waivers. Brown, a 2010 first-round pick, was a center fielder in the San Francisco Giants organization until this week. As part of their late-spring roster cleaning, the Giants designated Brown for assignment on Tuesday to clear room for Justin Maxwell. Today Brown was outrighted to the Cardinals.

Until today I don't think I knew who Brown or Maxwell were. Both players either plied their trade beneath the radar of my awareness or were utterly forgettable after registering as a blip on said radar. How to assess the Cardinals' acquisition of a player I'd never head of (or at least don't remember ever hearing of) who the Giants DFA'd in order to make way for another player I'd never heard of (or at least don't remember ever hearing of)? Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference of course.

Brown is a center fielder. Since he's a 26-year-old who was just DFA'd that is to say that he's an outfielder. Brown's career is at a place now where he can't be too picky about his defensive assignment. Not that his bat plays in the corners. Consider his minor-league stats:

Year

Age

Level

PA

K%

BB%

BA

OBP

SLG

ISO

wOBA

wRC+*

2010

21

R

27

18.5

14.8

.182

.333

.227

.045

.309

86

2010

21

A-

27

25.9

7.4

.136

.259

.227

.091

.245

47

2011

22

A+

638

12.1

7.2

.226

.407

.519

.182

.408

138

2011

22

AFL

55

18.2

1.8

.220

.278

.300

.080

.268

42

2012

23

AA

610

14.3

6.6

.279

.347

.385

.106

.335

104

2012

23

AFL

70

20.0

7.1

.313

.357

.375

.063

.343

95

2013

24

AAA

608

22.2

5.4

.231

.286

.375

.143

.297

72

2014

25

AAA

596

20.0

6.0

.271

.329

.394

.123

.324

88

*Remember that Fangraphs' minor-league wRC+ is not park adjusted. It is only scaled so that 100 is league average with every point below 100 a percentage point below the non-park-adjusted league average and every point above 100 a percentage point above the non-park-adjusted league average.

The promise of Brown's Double-A season has since been erased by two lackluster Triple-A campaigns. Today, Brown isn't a top prospect and his status as a prospect is dwindling. A third tour in Triple-A this year will likely wipe away whatever prospect shine remains (if Brown still has any left after being DFA'd). This is an addition similar to last offseason's of Rafael Ortega. It's all about organizational depth in the near term—not the St. Louis outfield in the near, medium, or long term.

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated Brown was a catcher. He wasn't.