Originally Posted by lollipopcurve
The guy had no defensive ability. Unless he was going to DH, he was never a viable prospect. You can pluck dozens of guys out of college ball who could put up a decent hitting line through the minor leagues -- doesn't make them big league prospects.
What makes a "viable" prospect? Was Mark Schramek, taken five picks after Brown, a "viable" prospect?
Brown progressed to AAA and health is what really kept him from being a backup C in the majors. That you can easily find college bats to hit at a respectable clip through the minors is nothing but a pile of Szymanski. It gets even trickier to find a catcher who can do anything positive with the stick.
Obviously the A's could have made a better pick. Brian McCann and Chris Snyder were drafted in the second round that season. That's two big league catchers, one from the college ranks, taken shortly after Brown.
The A's also missed on some college talents from later rounds - Dave Bush, Jesse Crain, Curtis Granderson, Rich Hill, John Maine, Pat Neshek. In fact, when you look at the 2002 draft, the A's were fishing in the right waters. They just missed on some of the prize fish.
So, for me, the real crux of it isn't that Brown was an awful target so much as what mistake did the A's make in placing more value on him than Granderson or Hill. Wrong as they may have been about Fielder and Kazmir, they never had a chance to draft either one. The lesson that ought to be learned, IMO, is that their college-centric approach to the draft needed refinement. They had a solid draft that season, shore up a few blind spots and it could have been a killer draft.
My take is the A's should have done more due diligence on the scouting front after
they had identified potential value picks. For instance, a good scout might have been able to make the case that Snyder had a bat plus quality defensive skills. A good scout might have been able to make the case for Granderson's tools or the movement on Maine's fastball. The A's could have taken a numbers-plus approach.