|Aaron Brown, image- Jay Floyd|
Combined at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading last year, Brown posted a 3-6 record with a 4.90 ERA, a .271 batting average against along with an 8.8 K/9 mark in 46 total appearances.
Entering his second full season as a professional pitcher, the 26-year-old will open the 2019 campaign back with Reading, where he ended last season.
Brown appeared in four games this spring with the major league Phillies, surrendering one earned run on two hits while striking out three and walking none in 2 2/3 innings of work.
This week I chatted with Brown about his time around the big league Phillies, working with J.T. Realmuto, his favorite thing about playing in Reading as well as recent rule changes that will impact pitchers among other things. Some excerpts from our talk are shared below, but you can check out the complete interview at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.
-The assignment for you to open the season is back with Reading in Double-A. Is that as you expected?
No, I think it was as expected. I came up here the end of last season, for the second half, threw the ball pretty well. You know, it was a good experience for me and I know there's probably a little bit more work to get done here and go from there. But it was pretty well expected to start here again. Our Triple-A squad is stacked right now, so (there's) not a lot of room for guys to move up there quite yet. But, yeah, I'm excited to be back here. It's going to be a fun season and I'm just ready to get after it.
-Cool. So, spring training must have been exciting for you, as you spent plenty of time around the big league team. What was that time like for you this spring, pitching for the big league team?
I'll tell you what, man, it was amazing. It was such a good opportunity, just a blessing to be able to do it here and there and help them win some ballgames. I just loved every second of it. I love a challenge and it was definitely that, when it came to facing big league hitters and just kind of see where I was at, how my stuff played in the zone and I can't complain about anything. It was all really good. A lot of positive feedback (from coaches). And just a huge opportunity that I think I really took advantage of.
-I talked to one of the lower level players, Ben Brown, last week and he was sharing some thoughts that even in the lower levels they can feel the change of atmosphere within the organization with all the changes of player personnel and the vibe that is turning around. Having been around it, but still in the minors, what are your perceptions of that?
Yeah. I mean, definitely. There's definitely a change in atmosphere. You look at our team up there and you just see a roster of guys that go out there to win and not just to play. And when our fan base knows that and they know the kind of players we have on the team and the kind of energy we're going to bring every single day-- the big leaguers are going to bring every single day, like that makes them excited. So, all of spring training, the atmosphere was just full of energy and excitement. Even though they were just spring games, when someone hits a home run, the place just erupted. And the fans love it and they love how much we want to win every single day. So, I can definitely say that the atmosphere was definitely different this year.
-It's easy to forget or not realize that this would be your fourth time with Reading, as you had two turns as an outfielder and not your second time there as a pitcher. With all that time playing there, what are some of your favorite things about Baseballtown?
Oh, man, just the crowds we bring in. We get awesome crowds here and the fan base is amazing and we love putting on a show for them each and every night. So, that's one of the biggest things about playing in Reading is it IS Baseballtown and the people out here love their baseball, love their Phillies and that makes it exciting for the players to show up every season and be ready to go because we know we're going to have great people there every night that are ready to watch some good baseball.
-The Reading vs. Lehigh Valley exhibition is coming up on Tuesday. Any thoughts?
Yeah, we'll be out there. We play Lehigh and we head to Portland to start the regular season right after the game. It's gonna be a fun game and that team is pretty stacked, honestly, so we'll see what happens, but it should be a lot of fun and we're excited to head up to Portland right after and start the season.
-Are there any bragging rights on the line in a game like that or is it still just focus on getting ready and getting reps in?
Not that I know of, man. I was only part of (it once), but from what I remember it was pretty fun and guys were just getting their work in, taking advantage of that last minute to fine tune some things and getting ready for game one of the season.
For the complete interview with Ben, head on over to Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support the content here by becoming a patron.