The concept of a Quad-A player — one who tears Triple-A apart but is unable to hack it in the Major Leagues — is a well-known phenomenon throughout baseball. More often that not, however, these perceived Quad-A players never have gotten a legitimate chance in the majors. That is the case with Red Sox outfielder Corey Brown, signed to a minor league contract as a non-roster invitee this winter, who is deservingly receiving a long look from the Red Sox this spring.
In parts of four seasons, Brown has slashed .254/.333/.461 with an average of 16 home runs and 9 stolen bases per season. Those numbers, in addition to great defense at all three outfield positions, seem to warrant a shot at the Major Leagues. However, Brown never has really gotten that chance. He has seen a bit of playing time with the Washington Nationals over the past three years, but not enough to judge his future based upon it. He has played in only 36 games (receiving just 45 plate appearances) and slashed just .175/.250/.400.
If given a larger sample size, Brown seems like a player that could really make an impact as a solid fourth outfielder and spot starter. The previously mentioned outfield defense could be enough on its own, but Brown could also add power, speed, and excellent plate discipline — he has walked at a 10.7% rate in his minor league career.
So, why hasn’t Brown ever gotten a chance? To be fair, in addition to his great walk rate, Brown also strikes out at a pretty hefty rate with a 27.4% clip in his minor league career. Aside from that, however, it’s inexplicable that Brown has not gotten more Major League playing time. He’ll be a part of a crowded outfield picture in the Red Sox’ organization but a continuation of his strong spring (.316/.381/.632) and a good start in Pawtucket could push him into some Major League time. However, there’s no guarantee that Boston will be the place where he finally gets the playing time he deserves.