NEW YORK -- It didn't come as a surprise to anyone when Dana Brown left the Blue Jays as a special assistant to general manager Ross Atkins to join the Braves as vice president of scouting.Brown has a long working relationship with Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos, dating back to
NEW YORK -- It didn't come as a surprise to anyone when Dana Brown left the Blue Jays as a special assistant to general manager Ross Atkins to join the Braves as vice president of scouting.
Brown has a long working relationship with Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos, dating back to their days with the Expos in 2002. It was Brown, a scouting director at the time, who hired Anthopoulos as a coordinator of scouting operations. Anthopoulos, in turn, hired Brown in 2009 to join him in Toronto as a special assistant.
"We have a great relationship that extends beyond baseball," Brown said. "Our wives know each other. I know his kids. I got to know his brother George. We send Christmas cards to each other. It's a dynamic brotherhood that we developed."
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During Black History Month, it's worth noting that Brown is the third African American (Bill Lucas and Hank Aaron are the others) to have a significant role in the Braves' Minor League system. Brown is proud to be part of that rich history.
"[The Braves] have the Bill Lucas Internship to train young minorities in the front office," Brown said. "I think it's an outstanding thing they are doing. They have been very involved in diversity for a long time."
Friendship is not the only reason Brown joined the Braves. He has a history of drafting players who reach the Major Leagues. Under his watch as a scouting director, the Nationals/Expos drafted Chad Cordero, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Most of those players helped the Nationals win their first two division titles in 2012 and '14.
Of all the players he helped select, Brown is most proud of Desmond, who was taken in the third round of the 2004 Draft. He's been an All-Star twice and has won three Silver Slugger Awards at shortstop.
"He wasn't a first-round pick. He was a third-rounder that ended up being an All-Star. That one really sticks out," Brown said. "He ended up having a good career as a third-round Draft pick."
Brown hopes to find that same success with the Braves. The moment he joined the organization, Brown hit the ground running, scouting players for the 2019 Draft. After all, the Braves have two first-round picks.
"I've seen a lot of kids this past summer," Brown said. "We have two first-rounders and we have two more picks before [the 100th player is selected]. We have to work hard finding these picks, who will have an impact on this organization.
"It's very important moving forward that every Draft -- particularly in the top rounds -- we acquire players that could get us to the postseason and have an impact on the Major League level."
Brown declined to say which players the Braves have their eye on. All he said was, the Braves were looking for "the best player available, regardless whether it was a hitter or pitcher."
"The Braves have a lot of arms in the Minor Leagues," Brown said. "We could use some position players, but I think, ultimately, we have to take the best player available that has the highest value in the organization."
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.