Ben Brown was traded to the Cubs two and a half months before the Phillies advanced to the World Series.
But the 23-year-old Brown, whom the Phillies drafted out of a Long Island high school in 2017, was far from bitter after being dealt for seasoned reliever David Robertson.
“It was awesome,” Brown said of the Phillies’ success. “My wife and I rooted for them. I have a lot of friends on that team. It was cool for them to do that. Now it’s ‘let’s go’ time with the Cubs.”
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Brown could fit in the Cubs’ future rotation. The organization has addressed the need for power arms since embarking on a rebuild at the 2021 trade deadline.
Both Kilian and Wesneski made their MLB debuts last season. Brown might not be too far behind. Last season he struck out 149 in 105 innings at High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Tennessee with the aid of of a mid-90s fastball with ride and a power curveball.
“The prototypical starter arsenal and prototypical starter body type,” Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins said of Brown. “We feel he’s the type of guy who can log innings for us and has some power stuff that can miss bats. You put those two things together, you got a shot at something fun there.”
Like most newcomers, Brown was summoned to the Cubs’ pitch lab in Mesa, Ariz, with an emphasis on sharpening his slider and polishing his changeup to enhance his rotation chances.
Brown added the Cubs also watched his delivery to make sure his body was in sync when he threw his slider.
“We’re attacking the slider, and we’re trying to get more movement on it and make it something I can attack righthanded hitters with,” Brown said.
“And the changeup, we’re constantly working on it. The slider is the main priority right now, and the changeup is going to come along. Hopefully I can have both of those by the start of the season.”