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San Bernardino, California —— On Friday night in Modesto, Stockton Ports outfielder Seth Brown went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts—not exactly an ideal night for a 25-year-old in the California League. But he turned around Saturday against the Modesto Nuts and went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI, and a walk. Then, he added three more hits, another walk, and another home run—with five RBI—on Sunday night, too, raising his season slash line to .256/.322/.463/.784 and his homer total to 22, good enough for third in the Cal League.

And while that’s just a three-day window into the Oakland Athletics prospect’s summer season, the weekend is a perfect microcosm of what Seth Brown has been working at in a repeat season in High-A: consistency, consistency, consistency, all in a bid to avoid turning one 0-for-4 night into a long, bad weekend.

“I’m learning to let things go,” Brown told Baseball Census in a pre-game interview late last month, an ironic allusion to overcoming that forgettable Friday night in Modesto. “Washing it off after the game, and not dwelling on it. Not thinking there’s something wrong with what I’ve doing out there. Maybe I got pitched to really well that game. Maybe I just missed my pitch. But I’m learning to avoid that thought of ‘oh, is there something I’m doing wrong?’ because that tumbles into a downward spiral. Just let a bad game be a bad game, and not turn into a bad week, and I’ll be OK.”

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That’s a big revelation for Seth Brown, who hit just eight home runs over 453 at-bats with Stockton last summer. A second year in High-A isn’t ideal by any means, especially not at 25, but the outfielder has made major improvements to his carrying tool—impressive raw power—and that could push him to a legitimate future in this game. To that end, especially in regards to repeating a level, Brown is refreshingly forthright about it all: last year, he just didn’t play well enough to be promoted.

“Everybody wants to move up, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and I’ve just got to get better,” he admitted. “I can’t waste a day out here. Repeating is something you never want to do, but I’m OK, because it’s another chance for me to get better, and that comes back to consistency. I did a lot of things out here last year that I was proud of, but I’m trying to find consistency where this game becomes second nature.”

If his quotes make it sound like Seth Brown is approaching this season as a sage old veteran, it’s because he is—and it’s not just because of his age. The outfielder now has nearly 1,500 professional plate appearances at four different levels under his belt, and as the Oakland Athletics push younger prospects quickly to Stockton, Brown is here to counsel them about how to approach the Cal League.

“I like being around the new guys,” he said, smiling. “It’s fun helping them avoid the stuff that I went through last year. For a lot of the guys out here, this is their first full season, so I get to help them understand that this is a process. Everyone wants to be in the big leagues, everybody wants to get out of here. But there’s a value in saying ‘hey, I’m here now, and I have to do things today that’ll help me get to that light at the end of the tunnel.’ Being here for some of those young guys is fun for me, because I can help them get to that mindset.”

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Oh, and about that carrying tool.

Seth Brown has proven a knack for hitting for power this summer, a notable improvement to his game and a sign that he may yet have a future with the Oakland Athletics if he can keep it up. The outfielder bulked up last winter, finally finding himself able to keep on weight, and he hasn’t worn down physically from the full summer season. All this points to a frankly impressive power projection in the future—and Brown’s maturity through the process has given him a chance to parlay it into a longer career.

“I need to push my body everyday, and I love the weight room,” Brown acknowledged. “It’s not even work, it’s a hobby to me. I love going in to lift. That first year from college to short-season ball was a grind for me, and ever since then, I’ve made it a goal to get back into the weight room and maintain. Now, finally being able to hold on weight is kind of exciting. But as hard as I work to keep my body at its peak at all times, I need to understand how to let that work on the field instead of forcing it. I’ve had glimpses of it, but it’s that consistency process I’m working on. I shouldn’t have to force anything out here.”

With two homers in the last two nights ahead of another series opener on Tuesday, Seth Brown is slowly but surely getting there. And with a career year that has him in sight of the Cal League homer lead—while also leading the circuit in runs batted in and sitting third in total bases—the outfielder is quietly having a career year at the time he needed it most.


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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