By Robert Held
Former Central Connecticut State University pitcher Casey Brown has signed a professional baseball contract with the Normal CornBelters of the mid-western Frontier League. The Frontier league is similar to the Atlantic League that the New Britain Bees play in as it serves as a launching pad to help its players work their way into the major leagues.
Unlike the Atlantic League, which only has eight teams that play mostly on the east coast, the Frontier League was founded in 2003, featuring 12 teams that span from West Virginia to Missouri. The most recent Frontier League alumni to make it to Major League Baseball is Brandon Cunniff who currently plays for the Atlanta Braves.
Brown had a successful senior year pitching for the Blue Devils. For the week of May 23rd he was named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week when he helped Central qualify for the NEC tournament. In that game, he pitched a complete game, which went 12 innings and had a career high of nine strikeouts and only one walk as Central beat Wagner College 6-4.
During the past season, Brown pitched 86.0 innings and posted his career collegiate best earned run average of 3.98. He made 11 starts and appeared in 15 games overall in 2016 for Central. For his career, Brown had 10 wins, one save, 158 strikeouts in 253.1 innings in 46 career appearances as a Blue Devil.
Before signing with Normal, Brown had been pitching for Top Speed Baseball in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League, in his post Central career. Brown was dominant in the GSCBL. He had a league-best 7-0 record and was
second in the league with 60 strikeouts. Brown had an earned run average of only 1.60 over 50.1 innings.
In the fourth week of the GSCBL, Brown was named Pitcher of the Week. During that week, he pitched a complete-game shut-out against Klamath Falls, recording 10 strikeouts and allowing only two hits.
Brown becomes the second player from Central to sign a professional baseball contract this season. He joins former teammate Connor Fitzsimons who was signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim. Fitzsimons is currently playing for the rookie team, the Arizona League Angels.
Those two are among five former Blue Devils who have signed professional contracts since 2011. Appropriately named J.P. Sportman is playing for the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the Midland RockHounds. This season for Midland, Sportman is hitting .271 with 43 runs scored, 33 RBI’s, along with three home runs and 11 stolen bases.
Former Blue Devil pitcher Nick Neumann is pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, as a Bradenton Marauder. Last season, Newman had 17 saves and so far this year he has a 1-0 record with six saves and a 2.70 ERA in 27 games. In his 40.0 innings of work this season Neumann has 33 strikeouts and has only allowed nine walks.
The most successful Central alumni so far is Evan Scribner. He has been pitching at the major league level since 2011. Last season, he appeared in a career-high 54 games with the Oakland Athletics. During the off season, Scribner was traded to the Seattle Mariners. Due to injury, Scribner has yet to make his debut for the Mariners this season.