It's unfortunate that the Colorado Rockies lost a capable reliever in Brooks Brown, when the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to claim him on waivers a few weeks ago. After a decade-long minor league odyssey, Brown broke through in the big leagues in Denver in 2014, and continued his career this summer, albeit in a manner interrupted several times by injuries and rehab assignments.
Across 2015, Brown appeared 36 times, throwing 33 innings and ending up with a 4.91 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 8.7 hits allowed per nine innings, 4.4 walks per nine, a 20:16 K:BB ratio, and a 1.455 WHIP. Those numbers aren't anything special, of course, and Brown is easily replaceable in the Rockies' bullpen now that he'll presumably be pitching in Los Angeles next season (perhaps along side other old friends Juan Nicasio and Brett Anderson!).
The real angle with Brown's season, though, is traced back to a shoulder injury that tripped him up two separate times during the year. First, he was sent to the disabled list from May 3-23, and later he would be taken off the active roster again between June 16 and September 2 to fully recover, eventually going on a rehabilitation assignment and then spending extra time in Triple-A Albuquerque.
By the time he came back to Denver supposedly fully healthy in September his season was shot, and Brown allowed six earned runs in his final 3.1 innings of the season (spanning five games), raising his 2015 ERA from 3.64 to its final 4.91 mark. He also allowed six hits and five walks in that time frame, destroying his peripheral stats and ending his Rockies' career on a sour note.
Brown's 2016 outlook
Just three weeks ago, I wrote about what it meant to lose Brown (and Michael McKenry) in the Rockies' first offseason moves. Quoting myself? Don't mind if I do:
Seeing a serviceable reliever walk away is a loss for the 2016 Rockies. It's a loss they can absorb and replace, of course. It's not nearly the same as a hypothetical loss of insert important member of the starting lineup here. But with a home ballpark brutal on bullpens and a rotation still not likely to pitch deep into games, at a time when Jeff Bridich ought to be stockpiling pitching depth, a reliever departs. There's a lot of offseason left, and new arms will arrive in Denver soon, but the end of Brown's tenure is a (minor) misstep.
That's still my viewpoint on Brown; when healthy, he's a good arm and a decent option for any bullpen, especially one as stereotypically thin as the Rockies' group. When injured, or ineffective, the 30-year old becomes imminently replaceable.
Good luck to Brown, though, as he navigates a new career in Los Angeles or wherever else he ends up for 2016 and beyond. He certainly has the physical attributes for success, and if he's truly healthy next season, he'll sneak up on some team as a pleasant surprise and a fairly dependable bullpen option.