PCL notes: Brown toughening up

No. 2 Giants prospect emerging from early Fresno struggles

By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com | June 3, 2013 6:00 AM ET

The toughest thing about baseball often has nothing to do with the physical aspects of the game.

It is the mental grind that can chew up and spit out players before they ever have a chance to put on a Major League uniform.

Center fielder Gary Brown, San Francisco's No. 2 prospect, is trying not to be one of those players who fizzles out before he ever gets his chance.

So far, the 2013 season has not been overly kind as he is hitting .213 (47-for-221) with three home runs and 23 RBIs for Fresno.

"I think it's more the mental game," Brown said of what's been affecting him. "I feel like I'm trying to focus more at not swinging at bad pitches and throwing the rest out the window. I can control what I can control, and so far, I feel good."

Brown suffered through a disappointing April with the Grizzlies, batting just .180 (18-for-100). He hit .248 (29-for-117) in May, showing signs that he might be coming out of his slump.

"It's different (at Triple-A) because you definitely get the sense you're so close," Brown said. "You see guys going up and down. Getting down on yourself is probably one of the toughest things to avoid. I think I've got a little bit of that.

"Right now, like I said, I'm trying to change my mentality, and so far, I'm feeling better about it."

A former first-round Draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton, Brown shone in the Class A Advanced California League in 2011, batting .336 with 14 home runs, 80 RBIs and 53 stolen bases at San Jose.

Like many Giants prospects, Brown found Double-A Richmond much tougher, as he hit just .279 with seven homers, 42 RBIs and 33 steals last season.

Brown admitted his struggles at the plate affected other parts of his game last year and earlier this year.

"I know sometimes when things aren't going my way in the box, it's almost like everything else suffers because you can't help but think about that," he said. "(But) it's all a learning process and that's what we're here for."

Brown said one outside factor that is not affecting him is the long-term contract the Giants gave to center fielder Angel Pagan during the offseason.

"Those are the things you can't worry about," Brown said. "It's a good thing for Angel. He got what he wanted, he got his contract. The moment you start to act jealous or bitter, that's when things go bad. It's all about keeping your head down and playing."

In brief

Redbird grounded: Top Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras was finally placed on the disabled list last Tuesday due to a lingering ankle injury. Taveras actually had not played since May 12. He was hitting .317 (39-for-123) with four home runs and 20 RBIs through 31 games with Memphis.

Throwing to acclaim: Dodgers' No. 10 prospect Chris Withrow had an outing to forget back on May 19 when he gave up four runs in one inning of relief work against Reno. Apparently, the right-hander has indeed put that outing out of mind as he has not allowed an earned run in his past five appearances for Albuquerque. Overall, Withrow has gone 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA and has struck out 26 batters in 21 1/3 innings.

Ace of Aces: Top D-backs prospect Tyler Skaggs is starting to turn around his season. Not only did he toss six shutout innings in a spot start May 27 for Arizona, but in his last three starts for Reno, the lefty has allowed just six earned runs in 20 1/3 innings. Skaggs has won two of those three starts, striking out 22 and walking just three batters.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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