Down on the Farm: In Midst of Rough Season, Brown Delivers for River Cats

Within an hour of each other on Tuesday night, the Giants and their Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, walked it off in extra innings in front of their home fans. At 10:19 p.m., Eduardo Nunez first played hero in San Francisco. Then just 43 minutes later at 11:02 p.m., a familiar face for Giants fans did the deed against the El Paso Chihuahuas. 

"A walk-off in any kind of fashion is pretty cool, especially in baseball," Trevor Brown said to after his walk-off RBI single to left field. "That's a good team win, we were down and we battled back. Our guys battled back, we kept gradually chipping away before we finally took the lead there at the end."

Brown, who caught 60 games last year for the Giants, entered the game in the top of 12th inning as a defensive replacement at second base and took reliever Derek Law's spot in the lineup. The 25-year-old has now played in 36 games for the River Cats this season. He has three RBI, all coming in the last three games he's played. 

The Giants went with a more veteran presence behind Buster Posey during the offseason with the signing of Nick Hundley, and the move has certainly paid off. Hundley, a 10-year veteran, is batting .264 with four home runs and 14 doubles in his first season with the Giants. On the other hand, Brown is hitting well below the Mendoza Line at .160. 

When the Giants signed Hundley, the plan was for Brown, an infielder by trade at UCLA, to become more polished behind the dish in the minors. But, the Giants also envisioned more meaningful innings for Brown at second base. 

"Bochy and I have discussed the fact that we'll look at him more at different positions this spring than we have in the past because we appreciate the value that he brings," Giants GM Bobby Evans said at the time of the Hundley signing.

Once the experiment became a reality, the results were exactly what the Giants' brass hoped for. Brown made his spring debut at second base on March 7 to replace Joe Panik and made a diving play to his left to end the game. The slogan "What Can Brown Do For You?" started to look a lot more realistic and promising with the future of Brown as a utility option off the bench. And then the regular season started. 

Brown started the year on the shelf with an ankle injury. He also sustained a concussion in late June that kept him out for over two weeks. On the field, the results haven't been any better than his health. Brown has appeared in 32 games in the squat and has only thrown out 25.7 percent of attempted stolen bases on him. The infield experiment hasn't really come to fruition too as Brown has now only played in four games and 14.2 innings as a second baseman. At the plate, he hasn't hit any higher than .165 after his first game of the season.

Last season Brown only batted .237 with the Giants, but the potential was evident. He also hit five home runs and showed promise as an athletic converted catcher. While the Giants crawl through their worst season ever since moving to San Francisco, Brown's play in Triple-A is as important as ever now that he's healthy again. 

Age is on his side at 25, but if he doesn't deliver more at the plate, the slogan will quickly turn to "What Can Brown Do For You?" all while he sits behind Fed-X in Sacramento

Around The Horn

-- Albert Suarez, who appeared in 22 games for the Giants in 2016, made his first Triple-A start for the River Cats this season on Tuesday. He tossed three scoreless innings and struck out five.

-- Steven Duggar, an outfielder who can climb through the system quickly, went 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI in the San Jose Giants' win Tuesday night.

-- Jarrett Parker is starting to put it together at the plate for the River Cats. He is currently on a four-game hitting streak, hitting .368.


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