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2023 Athletics Season in Review: Seth Brown

Seth Brown, the lefty power hitting utility man, had a down 2023 season compared to recent standards, but could still be the next A’s player to be dealt at some point.

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Seth Brown headed into 2023 as the A’s best power-hitting asset coming off back-to-back seasons of setting new career highs, but an early season injury mixed with a lesser role yielded a down 2023 season.

How Acquired

Brown was drafted in the 19th round (578th overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Lewis-Clark State on June 10, 2015.

What were the expectations?

Coming off a breakout year in 2022 where Brown posted career highs in all major offensive categories, the expectations for Brown were to build off that season in a more elevated role that’d see him platoon less and get more chances.

2023 Results

Brown had a down 2023 where he hit .222/.286/.405 in 378 plate appearances. He slapped 14 home runs and 52 RBIs while also striking out 101 times versus 30 walks. He played a pretty moderate defensive season mostly in the outfield at corner positions rather than first base where he played a majority of his 2022 innings. Injuries also played into Brown's season as a grade-2 oblique strain sidelined him for a month and a half just eight games into his season. When Brown returned from injury, Ryan Noda had already emerged as the team's starting first baseman so Brown was used predominantly in the corner outfield from there on. A solid September in which Brown hit .277 in 65 at-bats helped his confidence and statistics as he raised his average up 12 points from .210. Other than that, Brown was a consistent sub .200 hitter until July 28th and saw his power numbers, perhaps his best tool, drop from years past.

What went right? What went wrong?

Besides the aforementioned month of September where Brown was able to end his season on a higher note, 2023 was a down year for Brown. Strikeouts have always plagued Brown; even in his career-best 2022 where he ranked 14th in the American League, and 2023 wasn’t any better. Brown struck out 27.2% of his at-bats which is a tad higher than his 2022 mark and still 5% above the MLB average. While Brown grooved fastballs relative to the rest of his stats batting .265, Brown hit .189 off breaking balls and .171 off off-speed. He also whiffed 41.6% and 44% on both of those types of pitches respectively. Brown chased the most pitches by percentage in his entire career in 2023, so it’s no mistake that his Whiff% was also the highest it’s been in three years.

Brown is the prototypical high strikeout high power modern-day baseball player, but with the power numbers down last season and not much value added defensively, 2023 will go down as more of a forgettable year in recent memory for his career.

2024 Outlook

Brown’s name has been tossed around trade rumors for a good majority of the offseason so far, but A’s general manager David Forst claimed earlier this December that they don’t suspect trading him. A’s fans could only hope they get the 2021-2022 Brown where he slugged 45 home runs and 111 RBIs in 271 games as a bounce-back year is hopefully in store. Brown likely projects to be the A’s go-to bench bat and platoon piece come opening day, but don’t expect the trade rumors to quit swirling with many teams interested in adding a powerful lefty swinger off their bench as well.