For Crew's top pick, 'it all started with Christian Yelich'

Club also nabs 'electric' RHP Misiorowski (No. 63), SS Moore (No. 72)

July 18th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers will give Coastal Carolina University infielder Eric Brown Jr. an opportunity to show that his swing can play in the pro ranks.

Regarded by scouts for what MLB Pipeline’s scouting report referred to as an “unusual” setup at the plate, with high hands that reminds some of onetime Brewer Julio Franco, Brown went to the Brewers at No. 27 overall in the first round of the 2022 Draft on Sunday. Brown was one of three Brewers picks on Day 1, before 6-foot-7 Crowder College right-hander Jacob Misiorowski in the second round and competitive balance round pick Robert Moore, a shortstop from the University of Arkansas -- and the son of Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore.

Brown, the top pick, found Milwaukee a fitting destination. When he was developing his swing in high school, moving his hands around and adjusting his body in search of what he calls the “power slot,” one of his models was Christian Yelich.

“I like to sink into my legs, and he’s a guy who sinks into his legs a lot,” Brown said of Yelich. “Coming up in my sophomore and junior year of high school, I was like, 'if he can sink into his legs and catch up to 95 [mph], then I can do it in high school.' I continued to watch him throughout my entire high school career and then as I got older and started getting deeper into baseball, I watched a bunch of guys. But it all started with Christian Yelich.”

Brown hit .330/.460/.544 with 19 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 12 stolen bases in 57 games as a junior at Coastal Carolina, which has produced big leaguers including the Giants’ Tommy La Stella and former big league catcher Kirt Manwaring. Brown is the first player in school history to be drafted in the first round.

Brown boosted his stock in the Cape Cod League, showing consistent ability to barrel the ball and produce high exit velocity while controlling the strike zone. He joins a deep field of up-the-middle defenders drafted in recent years by the Brewers, who love to stock up on shortstops and center fielders and then move them to other positions as necessary. Brown’s 5-foot-10 frame could eventually fit at second base, according to some scouts.

“My biggest pet peeve in baseball is striking out,” he said. “I hate strikeouts.”

What about his future position?

“We like the glove,” Brewers vice president of domestic scouting Tod Johnson said. “We’ll give him a good shot to stick at short, and if not, he can be a really, really good second baseman.” 

Said Brown: “I believe that I’m a shortstop, but I’m willing to play anywhere. I’m willing to do anything.”

Like Brown, second-rounder Misiorowski became the highest Draft pick in his school’s history when he went 63rd overall to the Brewers in the second round. He was 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA, a .180 opponents’ average and 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 15 starts this season.

If Crowder Junior College sounds familiar, it’s because that was where the Brewers found 2018 fourth-rounder Aaron Ashby.

Misiorowski is regarded for his size -- he's 6-foot-7 -- and his fastball, which has touched 100 mph. He might have been an even higher prospect going into this Draft, but he tore the meniscus in his right knee during his first start last spring, which ended his season in February.

Despite the setback, he returned this season to rank third in NJCAA Division I in strikeouts (136) and strikeout rate, with long extension and high spin rates.

“It’s electric stuff,” Johnson said. “It’s four-pitch potential. He’s pretty thin still; there’s some filling out to come. But he touches 100 [mph] already with strength to come in the future and has two really good breaking balls and a changeup that is a really good pitch already that we’ll continue to develop as well.

“He hasn’t had to use his changeup, honestly, because JC hitters had a hard time with a 100 mph fastball and the slider that he has. We’re pretty pumped to get him down there [in the second round]. We thought it was one of the best pure arms in the Draft.”

Brown was No. 63 on MLB Pipeline’s pre-Draft Top 250 prospects list, Misiorowski was No. 78 and Moore was No. 108, though he may have been a first-round talent if not for a dip in power production this season at Arkansas, where he won college baseball’s version of the Gold Glove Award at second base.

“He’s not going to get out-worked,” Johnson said. “We’re pretty excited about letting him just get into pro ball, get into the everyday routine. We think he’ll really take off with that structure and setup.”