Since being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers organization this past summer, Seymour’s Zack Brown has traveled across the country pitching in the minors.
After three appearances with the Helena Brewers in the rookie league, Brown got moved up to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers — a Class A team in the Midwest League.
Brown threw two games for the Timber Rattlers, and has now reached his pitch limit assigned by the team.
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He will next spend nearly 15 days with the Arizona League Brewers, a rookie instructional team, before training for the 2017 season.
Brown recently made some time to speak with The Tribune on his transition to the pros.
Q: How has the transition been from college to the pros? What has the biggest adjustment been outside of baseball?
A: The transition from college ball to pro ball has been hectic at times, due to the different travel schedules and experiencing new environments, but overall I have enjoyed it. The biggest adjustment outside of baseball was just preparing myself away from the field. It’s hard to point out exactly one thing away form baseball because everything you do is affected, either directly or indirectly, by baseball.
Q: What was it like playing in your first game with Helena? What was it like getting that first start?
A: Playing the first game in Helena was awesome. Getting that experience and knowing I’ve finally reached part of my dream of being an MLB player was awesome. That day was a great opportunity for me to look back and reflect on what experiences I had been through that had gotten me to that point. In my first start, I was definitely nervous. I had the struggle of the college season still on my brain and it was hard to knock that out of my head for a few outings. But then I realized it’s a blank slate and nothing I did at college even matters anymore.”
Q: When did you find out that you were getting moved up to the Timber Rattlers?
A: “When I found out I got called up to Wisconsin, it was quite a surprise. I had only had 3 appearances in Helena and only one was a quality outing, from my perspective. To say I was caught off guard would be an understatement. I didn’t expect it to happen at all. It was after our game on July 6th when the manager of the Helena team brought me into the office and told me I had been called up. It was around 11 p.m. local time and we had a 3½-hour bus trip home. With my flight being early in the morning, I had to get my things packed in a few hours and try to get a few hours of rest. But all in all, it was a very smooth transition, it just happened very quick.”
Q: What has been working for you on the mound?
A: “In Wisconsin, I adjusted my mechanics to make me more comfortable on the mound and I would attribute most of those strikeouts to fastball command. I have never really established great command, but limiting walks and throwing more strikes allowed for the strikeouts to come. I would attribute most of that to the adjustments I made. Usually, my fastball was 92-95 miles-per-hour, up to 96-97 occasionally.”
Q: How has your game evolved since joining the pros?
A: “I wouldn’t say my on-the-field game has evolved too much, other than the mechanical adjustment, but going to the field every day, throwing every day, and just developing a routine to stick with has been the biggest change. It was very important to take care of your body so you feel healthy every time you go to pitch.”
Q: How does it work with starts/saves? How far in advance do you know when you’re pitching?
A: “For me, being a new draft guy, I wasn’t able to have a start every 5 days like you see in the big leagues. I was in a tandem with another pitcher, so the way it worked was every 5 days we would be pitching. I would start one day, then he would start the next time our day was up. Essentially, it would be a start, 4 days off of in game activity, then a relief appearance, 4 days off of game activity, then another start, and so on. It was structured very simply and it made it very easy to know when it was my day to pitch.”
Q: Are you still in close contact with everyone down in Seymour?
A: “The Richey and Reasoner families visited me in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was my road trip with the Wisconsin team. That same road trip, a group of friends came to watch me pitch in Dayton, Ohio. It’s always nice to see familiar faces at my games. I still talk to a couple of high school friends and people around the baseball community in Seymour quite often.”
Zack Brown’s pitching numbers thus far in the pros.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A)
Innings pitched: 33
Earned runs: 11
Opponents batting average: .221
Helena Brewers (ROK)
Innings pitched: 5.1
Earned runs: 8
Opponents batting average: .423