St. Clair Shores native recounts MLB draft selection

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 27, 2019

 Wayne State University pitcher and 2016 St. Clair Shores Lakeview graduate Hunter Brown readies to deliver during a 2019 game. Brown was selected June 4 in the fifth round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.

Wayne State University pitcher and 2016 St. Clair Shores Lakeview graduate Hunter Brown readies to deliver during a 2019 game. Brown was selected June 4 in the fifth round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.

Photo provided by Wayne State University athletics

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Wayne State University junior pitcher Hunter Brown expected to hear his name called at some point in the 2019 MLB Draft, but he was still a bit shocked upon seeing his name come up on the screen.

“I was kind of surprised,” said Brown, who was selected by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of the draft June 4. “There were different emotions all around the room. I was just sitting there with my family. My dad and I just looked at each other like, ‘Wow. This is really happening.’ It was a celebration after that — lots of claps, cheers and hugs. It was good.”

Brown’s name being called as the 166th pick in the 40-round MLB draft signaled the next step in a lifelong dream.

The St. Clair Shores native, who graduated from St. Clair Shores Lakeview in 2016, joins one of the best organizations in baseball. The Astros won the World Series in 2017.

“The team’s (area scout) just called me and said, ‘Welcome to the Astros,’” said Brown, a 2019 consensus Division 2 All-American. “The Astros are well-known for their player development and winning at the major league level. Everybody knows that if you’re a young pitcher, that’s the organization you want to play for. I’m really excited to be a part of that.”

For now, Brown is a member of the Astros Single-A short-season affiliate, the Tri-City ValleyCats, based in Troy, New York.

He made his debut June 22, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of work.

“Being out there just reminded me there’s a first time for everything,” Brown said. “I had some of the same emotions as I did in my first college start or when I went out for my first college save. I anticipated being nervous. I just had to face one guy to get it out of me. You have to give yourself a hitter or two to get the nerves out of yourself.”

Brown’s selection comes after a standout junior season with the Warriors.

Brown finished at 9-0 with a 2.21 ERA, and he struck out 114 batters in 85.1 innings. He held opponents to a .203 batting average.

The righty led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in ERA, strikeouts and starts (14). Brown finished second in the league in wins and complete games, and earned the GLIAC Pitcher of the Week award three times.

This past season, he was also named Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association, the American Baseball Coaches Association and the D-2 Conference Commissioners Association.

Brown left his mark on the Wayne State program. He ends his career second all-time in strikeouts, fifth in wins and seventh in innings pitched.

“Coming out of a D-2 school, the teams are drafting you more based on projections and what they think you can be,” Brown said. “The biggest thing is you have to believe in yourself. So many people want to doubt you, mostly because of their own hang-ups. If you want to accomplish something, you just have to believe.

“It’s gonna be a long road. It’s been a long road for me so far, but my belief in myself has pushed me through. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.”