What to watch for Hunter Brown’s debut in the Major League

If it weren’t for the Astros’ depth in the starting spin, Hunter Brown, his best bet, would surely have made his league debut long before this evening against Rangers. In fact, he might have been promoted months earlier if he had been put on the list by one of the other 29 clubs. Thanks to the active roster expansion in September, he finally had the opportunity to showcase his talents at the biggest stage of his career.

With one of the most dynamic arms in the minors, Brown’s numbers this season – 2.55 ERAs and a strike rate of 31.5 percent in 106 runs – have further justified his prospective billing. His potential to swing and fail appeals to many, especially in short appearances. Developed as a rookie, the lack of an immediate opening will likely result in Brown taking a relief role if he is included in the post-season roster. As such, Houston is presenting the 24-year-old right-hand man an opportunity this month to see if he can deliver some value to the club in October. As I mentioned last week over hereIt’s worth trying players like Brawn and Yanire Diaz in September to see if that’s a feasible plan.

So, what should we expect to see from Brown on his debut later today?

The right hand primarily uses four pitches: a four-stitch quick ball, a curve ball, a slide, and a shift. Of those four pitches, arguably the two best offerings are his Fastball, which can sometimes hit the 90s, and his high-spin bending ball that misses a lot at the bat. It also mixes in its slider and sometimes even changes it.

The first clip below is Brown’s four-studded speedball, reaching speeds of 95 mph. Does it remind you of another quick game with four stitches thrown higher in the area for a whiff?

Effective pitch across multiple areas of the strike zone, as with other shooters developed within the Astros’ minor league system, Brown’s four stitches miss a lot of the area’s top bats. It is arguably the best tune in his group, especially if his driving continues to show improvement.

But the pitch I’m looking forward to watching later this evening is Brown’s curveball, which was executed by the Astros after their selection to the right in Round 5 of the 2019 Draft. The animation below is a bit grainy, but his curveball is a chipped floor that generates a lot of Spin, which should help her miss a fair share of bats at the major league level.


Truthfully, I’m a sucker for curveballs with a lot of movement breakage. Brown’s curveball is the pitch I’m optimistic about. Having said that, I’m also interested to know how and when Brown uses the slider and change. Its slider, in particular, is effective but not quite as good as its curve ball. However, pitch is effective when used in the right places, and presents a different appearance depending on matching and sequencing.

However, the main problem with Brown’s minor league career isn’t the lack of stadiums to use; Rather, it’s about gaps in leadership and his tendency to walk opponents hitters. But that problem appears to have been mitigated somewhat since June 18, his last game when he allowed more than three rounds in a match.

  • 4/6 to 6/18:29 walking
  • 6/24 to 8/28: 16 walks

Leadership, or lack thereof, is likely to determine whether or not Brown’s 2022 season continues into October. It’s something to watch at this start and any future appearances between now and the end of the regular season. If it’s not a big deal, I’d venture to say it might actually earn a spot on the postseason list.