Baseball is all about the unexpected joys, and that goes for players as well as fans. When the New York Mets announced both Daniel Murphy (birth of his child) and Chris Young (quadriceps) would be out of the Opening Day lineup, Andrew Brown still wasn’t positive his number would be called. With Eric Young, Jr. moving to second base, Brown started in left and made the most of his sudden opportunity.
The news alert flashed across my phone while back on the train; admittedly, I struggled to come up with much on Brown. When he smacked a three-run homer in the bottom of the first and the Citi Field crowd went full supernova, that was the first moment of the season where I wish I could go back in time and make a long-shot prediction. No one could have seen this coming, but how long will Brown’s coming out party last?
With Jonathon Niese returning from the DL this weekend, GM Sandy Alderson has to make room on the roster. Brown would love to make that decision a tough one for Alderson. Three quick RBIs raise some eyebrows, but Brown went under the radar in spring training for a reason.
He’s a great minor league ballplayer who in parts of three seasons hasn’t been able to produce in the big leagues. Brown’s .286/.370/.522 career line in the minors sounds great until you compare it to his .225/.286/.398 numbers in 125 games with the Mets, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals.
Depending upon the severity of Young’s quad strain, Brown might not get too many more chances over the next few games to prove this year is different. Even if he does, the team will likely want to see him play every day in Las Vegas before keeping yet another outfielder in the fold. Still, it’s nice to have an underdog to root for early in the season — keeps that feeling of hope alive.
And hope, as we learned on Opening Day, is something the Mets are going to need in spades.