Reporting Mark Rosen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The last Minnesota high school player taken in the first round of the major league draft was Joe Mauer in 2001. That streak might be snapped this year if Rochester pitcher Mitch Brown is projected as a late first round pick in next month’s draft.
Brown is making his pitch as one of the top high school pitchers in the country.
“Baseball is obviously, after school, my number one priority,” Brown said. “Hopefully, it will be my job someday; I think if you want to be successful at anything, you’ve got to give it 100 percent.”
The Rochester Century senior is ranked by Baseball America magazine as one of the top 50 prospects in the upcoming June draft. The right-hander is turning heads with a fastball flying at 95 mph.
Brown says people always ask him if he thought he might be recognized in baseball.
“Not to sound arrogant, but: Yes,” Brown said. “This is what I have worked for my whole life.”
Brown has put in the extra work, including getting up at 4:30 a.m. three days a week to work out before school.
Keith Kangas, Brown’s coach at Century, said the pitcher has sacrificed a lot to achieve his goals.
“He’s done the little things that you need to do to separate yourself from the other players,” he said.
Brown’s dad, Jeff Brown, who is also a Korean powerlifter, may have given the 6-feet, 2-inches-tall Brown some of his pitching power. He also helps his son focus on baseball by snapping photos and recording his games, so as to help hone his skills, smoothing out little mistakes.
“We work on that all the time,” Jeff Brown said. “We review his tapes and pictures, and correct his little faults.”
Brown said his dad’s photography work plays a big part in his preparation. After all, pitching is about the little things.
“Pitching is frustrating like that: where you can be off just a little bit and it makes a big difference in the game,” he said.