HARRISONBURG, Va., June 6, 2012 - For the second straight year, Cleveland called upon a member of the James Madison Diamond Dukes as the Indians selected junior right-handed pitcher D.J. Brown (Locust Grove, Va./Orange) in the 39th round on Wednesday's third day of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Brown, who was selected with overall pick number 1,193, is the 67th player in JMU history to be picked in the MLB Draft. He joins his former catcher and teammate, Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) as fellow Indians' selections in consecutive years. Lowery was a fourth-round pick of Cleveland in 2011. He is the fourth player in program history taken by the Indians, joining Lowery, 2004 outfielder Mike Butia and 1987 standout Scott Mackie.
"I had turned on the draft online and was just sitting and looking for some of our teammates to be drafted," commented Brown of his memorable moment Wednesday. "It was kind of a shock. I had to read over it a few times to make sure it was my name. Then I called Conner [Brown], my roommate, to come look at it. I didn't know if it was real."
The selection by the Indians came as a surprise to Brown primarily because he missed the entire 2012 season due to an injury suffered in the Fall. His injury was one of numerous setbacks for a JMU squad that finished 16-35-2 in 2012. The 6-foot, 6-inch righty figured to be the centerpiece of the Dukes' staff after factoring heavily into Madison's 2011 CAA championship season.
As a sophomore, Brown was instrumental in JMU's postseason run with a team-best 96 2/3 innings (18 percent of team's total) on the mound. He went 9-1 with four saves and a 4.00 ERA while opening the season as a starter before ending in dominant fashion as the team's closer. He struck out 92 batters compared to 30 walks and posted a team-best .245 opponent batting average. As a closer, he worked both short and long outings, highlighted by his 7 1/3 inning relief effort as JMU rallied past FIU, 11-7, in the opening game of the 2011 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional.
Winner of the program's Relief Pitcher Award, Brown ranked 47th nationally with his nine victories and 65th with his 92 strikeouts. He ranked ninth in JMU history for season wins, seventh for season innings and sixth for season strikeouts. He also ranked eighth in the CAA for opponent average, second in innings, fourth in Ks, second in wins and 15th in appearances.
Brown spent much of his freshman campaign in 2010 as a starter in the weekend rotation. He finished 4-3 with 41 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.
With his injury, Brown still has two years of eligibility remaining at JMU. He said of his upcoming decision whether to leave the Dukes and turn pro, "[Cleveland] is supposed to call me by this weekend. I'll let them know if I'm interested or not and we'll have a few weeks to figure it out."
Teams have until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 13 to sign players selected in the draft. The deadline is a change from previous years, which featured a mid-August decision date.
Whether or not he signs, Brown sees benefits to the draft selection for him personally and for the JMU program. He stated, "It makes me feel like I'm still wanted, even when I'm not on the field playing. It's also a good thing for our team and will make our team better next year. It shows that if you do good things, people are going to notice."
Brown was the 11th player taken from the Colonial Athletic Association in the 2012 draft. His selection marks the seventh straight year for a JMU player to be taken in the draft. A former JMU player has been selected in all but three MLB Drafts dating back to 1976.