Kep Brown Decides to Go the Juco Route

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Just an interesting note I wanted to pass along, to anyone who might care.

Kep Brown, the high school outfielder the Cardinals selected in the tenth round of the draft this June but were unable to come to terms with, has decided to forego his commitment to the University of Miami and instead enroll in Spartanburg Methodist, a junior college in South Carolina.

You may recall that Brown, who was one of the more intriguing power bat prospects in this past draft class, saw his stock for the draft take a huge hit when he suffered an Achilles injury early in the spring, which likely knocked him from a potential top 50 pick to, well, a tenth round lottery ticket. Given his profile, I'm not entirely shocked to see him turning to a junior college, which will allow him to reenter the draft next year, rather than waiting a full three years to do so. He could also choose to transfer to a DI school after this season, if he feels it would be the best route for him to take.

For my part, while I'm sure that's disappointing for Miami fans and the coaching staff there, it seems like a pretty good decision for Brown. If he is absolutely committed to at least giving professional ball his best shot, a chance at being redrafted next year is a very good one to take. If not for the injury this year, he would have done much better, and the package of tools he brings, when healthy, is one that should get him a high draft slot, a nice bonus, and a chance at learning from the kind of pro coaching that will develop him and get him where he wants to go, moreso than college, which could see him receiving good coaching, but could also see him simply getting older, playing his best to try and win games for the U, and not being guided in a way that will maximise his opportunities to actually improve as a ballplayer.

Here is my scouting report on Brown from back before the draft; I like the power but it's a slightly stiff swing and an overall profile I'm slightly lukewarm on. Going back and taking a second look at him after the Cards drafted him, I like him a little better than I did at the time, but he's still not an Austin Wilson or Garrett Whitley tools monster of a big man. However, the power potential alone makes him a good prospect, and very intriguing.

We know the Cardinals liked him; enough to use a pool-limited pick on him and lose part of their slot when he walked away. He didn't sign here, ultimately, but I do think that if the two sides established a good rapport within the framework of, no, that bonus isn't going to get it done, it wouldn't shock me at all to see them take another shot on him next June. In which case I would still question the decision, but if establishing that relationship bears fruit then perhaps it was worth it. Of course, that all came under the now-dismissed Chris Correa, so who knows how similar the next scouting director and his confidants will feel about the player or the profile. Still, the Redbirds showed an increased willingness to bet on upside plays in this past draft, and if that is a real thing going forward then I could see Brown still being very much on their radar.

It's a corner OF-only profile, or maybe first base, but he runs well enough I think he'll get ever chance to stay in the grass and let the legs play. He hits righthanded, and can put a ball over pretty much everything in sight when he connects. There are definite reasons to be very intrigued by Kep Brown, and MLB clubs are going to get another shot at being intrigued by his profile much sooner than they probably expected.