06/04/2002 2:56 pm ET
Cubs take pitcher Brownlie in draft
Chicago takes righty with first pick two years in a row
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Cubs' round-by-round picks
Bobby Brownlie is the first to admit he's no Mark Prior, but he has the same aspirations to get to the big leagues as soon as possible.
Brownlie, a 21-year-old pitcher from Rutgers, was the Cubs' first-round pick in Tuesday's First-Year Player Draft. The highly regarded hurler was the 21st player taken overall and one of four college pitchers the Cubs selected with their first four picks.
This marked the second consecutive year the Cubs have chosen a right-handed pitcher in the first round. Last year, Chicago tabbed Prior second overall in the draft. Prior, who was 15-1 at USC, is now in the team's Major League rotation.
"I don't think you can compare myself to Mark Prior," Brownlie said. "He's an unbelievable pitcher, just what he did in college. I don't know if I'll progress as quickly as he did.
"[Prior's] an unbelievable pitcher, probably someone college baseball has never seen ever," Brownlie said. "I do expect once I get out there and once I get out on the mound and get the opportunity to pitch, I'll do pretty well."
"He's a power, curveball pitcher," said John Stockstill, the Cubs' scouting director. "We've had him anywhere from 89, 90 to 96 (mph) over the years. We followed him his whole career. He's a very good young man from a good family. We're very pleased to have him at 21."
Brownlie, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound Edison, N.J., native, had to battle some soreness in his right shoulder this year and went 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA for the Scarlet Knights, including five complete games and one shutout.
In his first two seasons at Rutgers, Brownlie appeared in 30 games (26 starts) and went 16-4 with a 2.46 ERA.
"All those were cleared," Stockstill said of Brownlie's health issues. "Everything is fine."
A week ago, Brownlie had a MRI test done on his right shoulder just to make sure.
"I had an MRI done for a little peace of mind for myself," he said. "A lot of people thought I was hurt. I felt fine the whole time but I had the MRI done and it came back and said I had tendinitis. That's what I thought all along."
Brownlie did not work out for the Cubs but Stockstill saw him pitch about 10 days ago.
Strong, compact, durable body. Looks taller than he is. Body similar to Rick Reed. Does it easy with live, quick arm. Ball jumps out of hand. Late-darting hammer knuckle curve is out pitch. Circle change is a late diver.
"The past season, he had a down period of three to four weeks where he had the biceps tendinitis and his velocity tailed off," Stockstill said, "but his velocity came back at the end of the season. Throughout the first two, two-and-a-half months of the season he was up to 94, 95 mph and showed a very good curveball throughout his career."
There is potential. Brownlie showed what he can do in 2001 playing for Team USA. The right-hander went 8-0 and compiled a 0.84 ERA, giving up 32 hits (30 singles) over 53 2/3 innings. He struck out 63 and walked only 11. Opposing batters could muster a .176 average against him.
Baseball America named him the National Summer Player of the Year after that season.
At Rutgers in 2001, he went 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in Big East games. He allowed just one hit over seven innings in his season debut against Old Dominion. Against then top-rated Georgia Tech, Brownlie gave up one run over nine innings and left with a 1-1 tie in the 10th.
In 2000, he was 4-2 with a 2.01 ERA in the Cape Cod League and received the McNeece Award that summer from the league as the top pro prospect.
Brownlie was a 26th-round pick by the Colorado Rockies following his senior year at Edison High School. He led Edison to two county championships and three division titles in four years. He also was a quarterback for the high school football team.
And Brownlie has a no-hitter already. He threw one during the American Legion season in 1999.
Asked to describe his style, he sounded more like a Jon Lieber-pitcher than a Kerry Wood.
"I'm not going to blow a fastball by a lot of guys," Brownlie said. "I throw 93, 94 miles an hour and maybe I'll top out at 95, 96. I have pretty good curveball and my changeup is still developing and still getting better.
"I'm a guy who will show you three different pitches and just try to get my ground balls. I'm not going to throw the ball by a lot of guys. I'm going to try to command the strike zone. That's what I am, command the strike zone.
He was also thrilled to be a Cub.
"I couldn't ask to be selected by a better organization and a team with history," said Brownlie, who did not expect to take long to sign with the Major League team. "I'm really excited right now.
"I think Chicago is a great fit for me right now," he said. "I think things worked out for the best."
Carrie Muskat covers the Cubs for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.