In their latest 2022 mock draft for Perfect Game USA, Brian Sakowski and Vincent Cervino write that the Red Sox have primarily been linked to college bats when it comes to who they might take with their first-round pick.
While Sakowski and Cervino have the Sox taking University of Florida outfielder Sterlin Thompson at No. 24, they also note that Coastal Carolina University shortstop Eric Brown could be in play for Boston as well.
Brown, 21, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 55 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s draft class. The right-handed hitter just wrapped up a junior season in which he batted .330/.460/.544 with 19 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 40 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, 39 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 57 games (265 plate appearances) for the Chanticleers.
On the other side of the ball, Brown served as Coastal Carolina’s everyday shortstop this spring, though he also has prior experience at second base and third base. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound infielder saw time at all three positions while playing for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer.
Per his Baseball America scouting report, Brown is “an unusual hitting prospect given his unique setup. Brown starts with his hands fully extended from his body and raised up above his head — which leads to Craig Counsell comparisons — before slowly drawing them back in his load, with a long and deliberate leg kick in the lower half. It is far from a picturesque swing and scouts typically find themselves put off initially, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers he’s posted as a college shortstop.
“Brown has always shown impressive plate discipline and he has solid exit velocity numbers as well, giving him a chance for more power if he can get the ball in the air more frequently,” it continues. “He’s an impressive athlete and solid defender who has a chance to stick at shortstop.”
A native of Louisiana, Brown told The Post and Courier’s Danny Kelly back in March that he models his fielding after former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias and his swing after former Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, as well as current Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger.
Brown, who turns 22 in December, participated in the MLB Draft Combine in San Diego last month. If he took part in MLB’s pre-draft MRI program, he would have to receive a signing bonus offer of at least 75% of his slot value.
So, if the Red Sox were to select Brown with the 24th overall pick — which has a recommended slot value of roughly $2.975 million — on July 17, they would have to offer him a signing bonus of no less than $2,231,175. Otherwise, he would become a free-agent.
It has been a while since Boston took a college infielder in the first round of a draft, as you would have to go back to 2012 when Arizona State University shortstop Deven Marrero was also taken with the 24th overall selection.
Coastal Carolina is a school the Sox rarely draft out of, but Brown could nevertheless prove to be a difference-maker if he falls to Boston in the early stages of this year’s draft in Los Angeles. The pandemonium will begin in just over a week.
(Picture of Eric Brown courtesy of Coastal Carolina Athletics)