ROCKERS BET ON BROWNELL
The High Point Rockers have made their first signing of 2020. John Brownell has re-signed with the Rockers in what will be his 9th season in the Atlantic League. After full Atlantic League seasons each year from 2013 to 2018 with the Long Island Ducks, the right-hander took his talents to the American Association’s Lincoln Saltdogs in 2019. After a successful American Association season where he posted an 8-7 record paired with a 3.70 ERA, Brownell finished out his year with High Point. In 3 starts wearing a Rockers jersey, Brownell let up only 3 earned runs in 20 and 2/3 innings of work.
For several seasons, John Brownell was a picture of consistency in the ALPB. Seasons with 24+ starts, 10 wins, ERAs in the mid-to-low 3.00s, and far more walks than strikeouts filled up the back of his baseball card. However, a turbulent 2018 (5.29 ERA, 1.454 WHIP) was concerning to see from a 35-year-old pitcher. Last year’s multi-league resurgence for Brownell was enough to entice High Point to take a chance on him, but that chance does come with risk.
John Brownell’s age 37 season projects a 3.75 ERA, a WHIP around 1.300, 2.5 K/W, and 6.7 K/9. These numbers would be valuable to an organization looking to win a League Championship in just their 2nd season. A veteran leader with consistent starts would be a priceless addition to the Rockers’ pitching staff. On the downside, if High Point’s gamble doesn’t pay-off and we see more of the 2018 edition of Brownell, these numbers could look closer to a 4.40 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, with a K/W around 2.0. And what if Brownell’s arm still has something electric to show us in his 15th season of professional baseball? What if he has another push to the playoffs left in the tank for 2020? In that case, a 3.40 ERA, 1.165 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 3 K/W, and 12 wins would be within reach for Brownell and a League Championship would be within reach for High Point.