Playing long toss with the Big Unit.
Charles Brewer was born in Paradise Valley and went to one of the nation’s top ranked high schools: Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School. Looking at the surroundings where Brewer grew up, it is probably not that weird to think he was having a perfect boy’s life. According to an early prospect report he was a bright kid too and had a family mom that gave up an early career while being a very popular news anchor on KTSP (Channel 10), to devote herself to her family and kids.
“When I think of 25 years going by, I think in terms of sports years,” she says. “We started T-ball in that year and baseball in that year…it’s gone so fast it’s hard to believe.” - Deborah Brewer in a 2014 interview for Raising Arizona Kids on raising her children
It makes sense that in such an environment young Charles Brewer was able to prosper. And it sure doesn’t hurt when a family friend is Diamondback legend Randy Johnson.
“I got Randy Johnson who lives down the street. I play some long toss with him. Scott Schoeneweis, also another big leaguer, I play long toss with him, too. So it’s pretty cool to be around those guys.” - Charles Brewer in a 2007 interview for the Cape Cod Times
After going 33-0 during his four years at the Chaparral High School, the Angels drafted Brewer in the 18th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. The Arizona native couldn’t be persuaded to forego his commitment to UCLA and thus went to California anyhow, although wearing the white and blue of the bruins.
But his start as a freshman doesn’t go as planned.
“My first year was just a mess. I had a really great fall and a great winter and (then) me and my coach had a meeting and he told me I would be our Saturday starter. So I come back from winter break and I start feeling a little funny, and turns out I have mono. I was out two months, I came back a little too quickly, and I had rotator cuff and elbow tendinitis.” - Charles Brewer in a 2007 interview for the Cape Cod Times
Brewer makes it to the Cape Cod League though and shines for the Chatham A’s with a 1.94 ERA and limiting batters to a .210 average. That is an important accomplishment, like we discussed recently in a different article, and good for exposure.
Exposure is probably the reason what helps Charles Brewer on his way to the 2009 MLB draft. His results for the UCLA Bruins aren’t great with a 5.10 ERA in 2008 and 4.52 ERA in 2009. But in 2008 he gets the win in a nationally televised game against Arizona State and in 2009 he has Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer as team mates. Add to that a family friend in Randy Johnson and it might explain why Charles Brewer got enough exposure to be picked in the 2009 MLB draft by the Diamondbacks in the 12th round.
After being drafted as a junior in 2009 at the age of 21, the righty makes his way to Missoula to play rookie ball. The lower A and Rookie leagues are no challenge for Brewer who pitches to sub-3.00 ERAs up till AA in 2011, although his season in Mobile is interrupted by a broken hand. Despite that injury he is able to make it back in 2011 and pitches in the Fall league but is hit hard in 8 games. It would prove to be an early taste of what to get in AAA the following season.
In 2012 the pitcher gets his first taste of hard ball when he starts the season in Reno. He makes 24 starts for the Aces that season, but gets smacked around to an ugly 5.99 ERA. After a rather smooth transition from the PAC-10 to pro ball, once again Brewer is faced with something he isn’t really used to. The Diamondbacks sent him down to Mobile by the end of the season to tank a bit of confidence before getting a second chance in 2013 at AAA.
In 2013 hopes are high for Brewer after a successful Spring Training, but eventually it is much of the same as in 2012. He is able to drastically lower the fly balls though and thus to keep his ERA below 5.00. The Diamondbacks decide to reward the performance with a cup of coffee in the major leagues and as such Brewer becomes the first Arizona native to be drafted by the team and to make his major league debut with the Diamondbacks.
“Obviously, my whole life I’ve been dreaming of getting that opportunity to pitch on this field because I’ve always been a fan growing up,” rookie reliever Charles Brewer said. “I’ve been a fan since 1998 in the stands; same season tickets every year.” - Charles Brewer quoted by Arizona Sports in 2013
The hopes for him to stick are not very high on a prospect site like Minor League ball and on the AZSnakePit. Most writers have him as a possible back-end rotation starter, but in the MLB he gets a look as a reliever.
He gets his maiden voyage at Chavez Latrine where he gets to pitch 1.2 innings in a game the D-Backs are losing by 3-1. His work in the 7th inning is perfect, but in the 8th he loads the bases although escapes with a ground ball and a final out from Tony Sipp who comes on to relieve him. He enters his second game while the Diamondbacks are down 6-3 at the Padres and works two innings of relief, giving up two hits but no runs.
But the real highlight is yet to come. After the game against the Padres Brewer is optioned back to Reno, but returns to the majors in July to make his home debut at Chase Field in a win against the Colorado Rockies.
“Man, it was unbelievable,” Brewer said Sunday. “I had more energy and I was more locked in than I think I did in my previous first two outings. The excitement was even more so than even my debut. [...] It’s a lot different being at home,” the 25-year-old said. “The sound of the crowd after your name gets announced as opposed to being on the road. Last night when my name got announced, I think everyone knew that I was the hometown kid. The crowd kind of went nuts for me, so it was a really great feeling just having my hometown support behind me as I was going out there.” - Charles Brewer quoted by Arizona Sports in 2013
Two days later he is less lucky in yet another game against the Dodgers. He is tagged with two runs in the 7th inning, letting Los Angeles go further away with 5-0, and faces his final MLB batter in the 8th when Zack Greinke hits a single off him. He is then optioned back to Reno.
After those 4 games in 2013 you could wonder why the Diamondbacks didn’t give Brewer another chance on the 2014 team that would go 64-98. In Andrew Chafin and Bo Schultz there were two other pitchers on that 2014 Reno Aces team that didn’t do much better than Charles Brewer but got a call-up to the majors that year.
Never much of a prospect, the Diamondbacks probably just didn’t think he had the right stuff to succeed at major league level, and that might be true.
“He throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup, according to fangraphs, and his velocity is right in the 90 MPH range. Yeah, that scares me too.” - Cleveland Indians blog on Charles Brewer in 2014
However it might be, Brewer is designated for assignment in November 2014 and traded to the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. He stays with that organisation until the end of May 2015 when he is released again. In 2016 he is back in Mobile, with the Diamondbacks, but is released after just a couple of weeks. A couple of short stints, probably forced because of a shoulder injury as hinted by the player in a video on YouTube about stem cell injection. In 2017 he pitches in the indepent leagues and soon afterwards retires from baseball, maybe because of a lack of perspective in baseball and probably because of other opportunities arising.
The Arizona Brewers.
After ending his baseball career Charles Brewer is nowadays a real estate agent working in the surroundings of Dallas and as such has followed in his father’s footsteps. Maybe this will be the last time we will hear from Charles Brewer as it looks that for now he has stepped away from the spotlights. But good chance it isn’t the last time we will hear from the Brewer family ever since mother Deborah participated in Miss America 1979 on television.
Sister Ashley was a swimmer at the University of Texas and is nowadays a sport news anchor at ESPN. Brother Chase had an unsuccessful stint with the Diamondbacks in 2012 and now works as an agent for Excel Sports Management that also represents several MLB players. Brother Connor was once a 4-star QB and was committed to Division I Football (although that didn’t pan out). Sister Abby played volleyball at the University of Tennessee and is rumoured to have dated (and might still be dating) NBA’s Alex Caruso.
Yep, Arizona, Charles Brewer and the Brewer family definitely have lived and are living the perfect life.