Eric Brown fits the recent trend of first-round picks for the Milwaukee Brewers, who have targeted athletic, up-the-middle position players in the MLB draft over the last five years.
The toolsy shortstop has flashed his potential early in his professional career. Brown, who the Brewers drafted 27th overall in July, made his pro debut on Aug. 2. He performed well in four games in the Arizona Complex League to earn a promotion to Class A, where he notched his first pro home run on Tuesday.
Brown is hitting .333 with three doubles, one home run, four RBIs and seven stolen bases in seven games between the two minor-league levels. It’s an impressive start for Brown, who last faced in-game pitching about two months ago in the NCAA tournament for Coastal Carolina.
“It is pretty awesome to be back playing and being around the team camaraderie,” Brown said. “We all have the same goal of making it to the big leagues. We push each other every day, and it is fun.”
Leading up to the draft, Brown felt he would be in play with teams from pick No. 21 to No. 44. He knew there was a chance to hear his name called in the first round but believed it was more likely that he would go in the Competitive Balance Round A or second round.
When the Boston Red Sox were on the clock at pick No. 24, Brown received a call from his agent, who informed him of the Brewers’ intentions to draft him three picks later.
Brown is the first-ever Coastal Carolina player in program history to be selected in the first round of the draft.
“There have been so many good players that have come through Coastal,” Brown said. “To say I am the first first-rounder means a lot. My dad always told me to leave a place better than I found it.
“I just hope I went to Coastal and laid out a blueprint for how to do it. Now I hope there are many more first-rounders who beat the 27th overall pick. I want someone to go first overall out of Coastal.”
Brown is a well-rounded player who was one of the better defensive shortstops in college baseball. He covers a lot of ground at shortstop due to his instincts, smooth actions, above-average arm strength and solid athleticism. He also has experience playing second base and third base.
Offensively, 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.
As he finishes his first pro season and enters the offseason, Brown’s immediate goals are to refine his offensive approach and remain a steady defender at shortstop.
While Brown hopes to make it to the major leagues as quickly as possible, he doesn’t let the game of baseball define him.
“My overall goal with baseball, which has always been this, is to grow the kingdom of God,” Brown said. “My walk-up song at Coastal Carolina was Awesome God. Now I am on a big platform and hope to reach more people. That has always been and always will be my No. 1 goal.”
Do you enjoy reading Baseball Prospect Journal’s draft content? Support our work and become a Patron!
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.