MESA, Ariz. -- More than most players, Eric Brown Jr. looked forward to this Arizona Fall League season. He had followed the developmental circuit in the past and hoped to get the opportunity to play there after injuries sidelined him for much of the summer.
Brown got his wish and it has been everything he hoped for. The Brewers' No. 10 prospect has played well offensively and defensively for the AFL’s best team, the Surprise Saguaros, and he homered on national television in the Fall Stars Game last Sunday. He’ll be on national television again Saturday in the championship game.
“My expectations were this is the best of the best, where the best of the best come to play,” Brown said. “So I knew you have to bring your 'A' game every night. It’s definitely lived up to my expectations.
“At the top right now is probably the home run. That was pretty much a dream come true, just playing in the league and then being an all-star and then hitting a home run, that just kind of put the icing on the cake. Everything has been awesome.”
After doubling and scoring a run in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Mesa Solar Sox, Brown has batted .287/.386/.414 with eight extra-base hits and eight steals in 24 games. He has split his time between shortstop and second base and looked sharp at both positions. He made a nice play on a chopper while manning second against Mesa.
A first-round pick (27th overall) in the 2022 by the Brewers, Brown is the highest-drafted player ever out of Coastal Carolina. He’s an offensive catalyst with outstanding hand-eye coordination, some sneaky pop and good instincts on the bases and in the field.
Brown missed the first three games of the season with a hip issue, then lost a week later in April after he was hit in the head by a 93-mph fastball. A right thumb injury sidelined him for nearly three weeks in June and a fractured left scapula cost him six weeks in July and August. He wound up getting just 63 games in High-A, slashing .265/.362/.347 with 37 steals before going 0-for-7 in a five-game stint in Double-A.
While making up for lost at-bats has been a priority for Brown in the AFL, he has had other developmental goals as well.
“From an offensive standpoint, I’m working on really starting to use my legs a little more,” Brown said. “I think this season, I kind of veered away from that, which kind of hinted toward my lower power numbers. So getting here and being able to work on specific things and then getting to test them out in games was huge. And then on the defensive side, just the consistency of making the routine play 99 to 100 percent of the time.”