Hunter Brown Bounces Back With Strong Spring Training Outing

Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Astros' top prospect regains form in third Spring Training start

Hunter Brown was as dominant as a prospect can be in 2022 en route to a Pacific Coast League PItcher of the Year Award and a late season call-up with the big league club. In seven appearances with the Astros, Brown went 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 9.7 strikeouts per nine. According to MLB Metrics, Brown was the first rookie since Roy Halladay to throw at least 20 innings with 20 strikeouts and a sub-1.00 ERA in his first seven appearances.

He pitched his way onto the playoff roster and generated plenty of excitement for what he had in store in 2023.

Brown, the Astros top prospect, will be heavily relied upon in 2023 to help weather the loss of his childhood hero Justin Verlander. With Lance McCullers jr. battling injury, the weight on Brown's shoulders appears even heavier. Through his first two Spring Training starts, Brown didn't exactly answer the bell.

Brown made it a combined two innings in his first two starts, allowing five runs on five walks, good for an 18.00 ERA. His inability to find the strike zone brought plenty of concern.

The top prospect bounced back in a big way against Miami yesterday, completing three shutout innings. Brown allowed no hits, and perhaps more importantly, issued no walks. He struck out three.

Brown needed only 34 pitches to navigate the three innings, and showed impressive control, with 26 of the 34 going for strikes. This is the Hunter Brown Houston will need if they are to repeat as world champs.

Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez are aces, Luis Garcia looks like an All-Star this Spring and World Baseball Classic, and Jose Urquidy is a great #4 if LMJ can't make it back soon. The Astros don't need Brown to win the Cy Young in replacing Verlander, but they do need him to throw strikes and eat innings when he takes the ball.

If Brown can command the zone and make it through five innings each time out, Houston may still boast the best rotation in the game.