The Brewers have drafted shortstop Eric Brown Jr. with the 27th overall pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft.
In three collegiate seasons with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers of the Sun Belt Conference, Brown slashed .306/.431/.501 with 16 home runs in 123 games. That included a .330/.460/.544 line with seven home runs in 57 games this spring.
The 21-year-old’s calling card is his excellent plate discipline. In college, Brown rarely swung and missed, nor did he chase many pitches out of the zone.
Combined some prep and college data to end up a simple graphic that shows chase and whiff rates for top draft prospects.— (@mason_mcrae) July 1, 2022
Eric Brown stands out on the college side, and Green might be able to overcome the whiffs because of the decisions/impact. pic.twitter.com/lKw1UYueLg
Those bat-to-ball skills stand out because too much swing and miss has played a role in Milwaukee’s inability to develop hitting talent in recent years. Keston Hiura is the most notable example, but outfield prospects Garrett Mitchell and Joey Wiemer are also struggling to make enough contact in Double-A.
In 570 collegiate plate appearances, Brown drew more walks (14.2%) than strikeouts (13.2%).
Brown’s batted ball profile leaves hope that he can hit for some power as he develops. In addition to regularly putting the ball in play, he made plenty of hard contact.
Even though the Sun Belt is good, you can’t hold that against Eric Brown, here’s what he did against power five schools:— (@mason_mcrae) June 27, 2022
- Hit 61% of his batted balls > 95 mph.
- Whiffed on just 6% of his swings.
- Chased just 9% of pitches out of zone. pic.twitter.com/ZcARaivilO
Brown’s unusual load can be a source of skepticism for some regarding his offensive potential. He holds his hands above his head and points the barrel in front of his face before beginning his leg kick, which has prompted comparisons to Brewers manager Craig Counsell’s batting stance.
However, that stance has not prevented Brown from making consistent contact and getting his hands to inside pitches. He credits it with helping him get into his “power slot.”
Brown developed his unorthodox stance and swing his soph year of high school. He was swinging downline and had to figure out a way to get into what he calls "the power slot."— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) July 18, 2022
"I kept moving my hands around for a year, then finally figured out this is where my hands need to be."
Scout opinions vary on Brown’s eventual position in the big leagues. Some believe he has the quickness, arm strength and instincts to remain at shortstop, while others believe he is destined for second base or the outfield.
While primarily a shortstop with Coastal Carolina, Brown also played a handful of games at second and third base. The Brewers announced him as an infielder.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.