Eric Brown has made impressive strides throughout his first 2½ years at Coastal Carolina. The junior infielder has enhanced his skills to develop into a premium player with notable upside.
Professional scouts have noticed Brown’s progression at Coastal Carolina. They believe Brown is one of the top players in college baseball and a potential early-round pick in the 2022 MLB draft.
Despite his status as a draft prospect, Brown has a team-first mindset and hopes to lead Coastal Carolina to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, this season.
“The draft interest is great, and I’m blessed for it,” Brown said. “But my focus is to lead this team to Omaha. It has been my childhood dream to make it to Omaha, and I believe this team has the power to do it. The team will always come first, and the draft will be secondary.”
Brown has served as an everyday player in his time at Coastal Carolina. Brown was the team’s starting shortstop last year, after playing 16 games in his freshman season, which ended prematurely due to the pandemic.
He hit .294 with 12 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 38 RBIs in 187 at-bats during his sophomore season. He displayed solid plate discipline, recording 37 strikeouts compared to 33 walks.
Last summer, Brown had a successful stint in the prestigious Cape Cod League. He batted .282 with three doubles, five home runs and 21 RBIs in 117 at-bats. After stealing 11 bases during his sophomore season, Brown stole 13 bases in 33 games in the Cape Cod League.
Brown (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) is a well-rounded shortstop best known for his defensive skills. He is one of the best defensive shortstops in college baseball and will remain at the position long term. He also has experience playing second base and third base.
Brown is an above-average defender who covers a lot of ground due to his instincts, smooth actions and solid athleticism. He also has above-average arm strength.
“My biggest strength is my glove,” Brown said. “I really take pride in that. My philosophy is that the glove never slumps. You will have ups and downs hitting. But, you can always bring your glove. I take a lot of pride in my glove and making sure it’s there every game.”
Brown is a right-handed hitter with a unique setup at the plate. He fully extends his arms and holds his hands above his head before moving them down to ready for the pitch. He started using the setup in high school, so his swing would remain flat through the strike zone, he said.
Brown doesn’t fall behind premium velocity, despite his unorthodox setup. He consistently barrels up pitches and drives the ball to all fields. He also controls the strike zone well. Scouts believe Brown will hit for at least average power in pro ball.
“I just want to shorten the slumps of hitting,” Brown said. “I’m not really big into numbers because I just believe in the process. You can go out there and hit four-line drives and get out four times. That’s baseball. I just believe if my process is right on every pitch that the season will turn out.”
Coastal Carolina is one of the top mid-major programs in college baseball. Last season, the Chanticleers had a down year, however. They went 27-24 and didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Since 2001, the Chanticleers have qualified for the NCAA tournament in all but three seasons, not including the 2020 season. They have won three regionals in that span, capturing the 2016 College World Series.
This year, the Chanticleers have high expectations. They believe they have the pieces to win the Sun Belt title and make the NCAA tournament.
“We are a very veteran team,” Brown said. “I don’t think there is a team in the country that meshes as well as this team. It’s just about taking that from off the field to on the field. We have the talent and experience on this team to make a run. We just have to put it together.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.