Coming up through baseball, San Francisco Giants catcher Trevor Brown was all over the place.
“I played middle infield, center field and pitched my senior year of high school,” Brown said in a phone interview.
His dream wasn’t to play middle infield. It wasn’t to play the outfield. And it wasn’t to pitch. Brown just wanted to catch.
Most colleges viewed Brown as a pitcher, but his dream was always to play catcher. The only school that offered Brown a non-pitching scholarship was UCLA, and he jumped at the opportunity.
“When UCLA offered me a scholarship, I was completely on board. Plus, it’s UCLA, so there’s no way I could turn that down.”
At UCLA, Brown got his opportunity to play catcher, but not like he had hoped. He caught, but he mostly played second and third base throughout his first three seasons in college.
“Every year I wanted to catch and every year I didn’t get to. I got some experience in mid-week games, but not a whole lot,” Brown said.
Even though he didn’t get his opportunity to catch every day, UCLA made an impact on him not only as a player, but as a person.
John Savage, the manager of UCLA’s baseball team, helped Brown a lot with the mental aspect of the game.
“My whole philosophy with calling pitches and reading a hitter came from him,” Brown said. “He was very strict. He said that if a pitcher isn’t doing well, the catcher isn’t doing well, which was huge for me for the mental part of catching.”
When Brown was drafted, it was as a catcher, even though he didn’t get much experience at the position in college. He came into spring training his first year as a catcher, but it didn’t last long.
With three days left in spring training, he was moved to second base and he ended up playing his whole first year of pro ball there, with only about ten games at catcher.
In his second year, he got more of an opportunity to catch, with roughly an even 50/50 split between catcher and second base.
In his third year, he finally got his chance to play catcher full time, something he was one hundred percent on board with. With his time completely devoted behind the plate, Brown says he hopes to become a great catcher.
“It was tough being a utility guy because you can get good at a lot of positions, but you can’t be great at any of them,” Brown explained.
The full year of catching paid off for Brown, as he was called up to the big-league roster late last season. In his limited time in the big leagues, Brown was around the likes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, which he says was a very important thing for his game.
“Boch called me into his office a couple times to sit me down, talk to me about a couple scenarios, like scouting reports and things like that,” Brown said, which was a tremendous learning experience for him.
Being around the likes of Buster Posey, one of the game’s top catchers, was also big for Brown.
“When I was there, he was real good about teaching me about the other team’s hitters. He knows those guys so he’d sit down with me and go over scouting reports.”
Moving to catcher full time, as well as being around people like Savage, Bochy, and Posey, has made a major impact on Brown as both a player and person.
It’s now up to him to put that to use to become the man directly behind Posey on Opening Day.