On his first night playing professional baseball, Eric Brown made his first smart business decision.
A friend of the Brown family owns an ax-throwing place, Bayou Ax Co., near his home in Louisiana and rented the building for the night the infielder was preparing to be drafted in Major League Baseball Sunday night will. Brown, however, would not be found near sharp objects while waiting for his name to be called.
“I stayed away from the axes tonight,” Brown said.
Brown stayed close to his phone instead. The bell rang a few hours into the draft when the Milwaukee Brewers turned on him with the 27th pick in the first round of the draft, making it another year and another defenseman from the collegiate ranks to be carried over by the team .
In selecting Brown, a Coastal Carolina shortstop, he followed a trend in recent years under vice president of domestic scouting Tod Johnson.
Brown becomes the third consecutive midfielder and collegiate hitter selected by the Brewers in the first round, joining UCLA outfielders Garrett Mitchell in 2020 and Boston College’s Sal Frelick in 2021. The team also selected a prep shortstop, Brice Turang, in 2018 after college second baseman Keston Hiura and college center fielder Corey Ray in the previous two years.
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“We talked before about liking guys who can stay in midfield,” said Johnson. “With (Brown) there, it was a chance to grab someone we liked at that point.”
Brown has a chance to stay at shortstop — and Milwaukee will give him the chance to do so — but could end up at second base depending on how his arm develops. Either way, his wide range and instinct should allow him to be a positive defender.
“I think I’m a shortstop but I’m ready to play anywhere,” Brown said. “I’m ready to do anything. I played short, second, third so I feel natural in all three positions but I think shortstop is my home.”
Brown, 21, hit .330/.460/.544 with seven homers and more walks (39) than strikeouts (28) this season in college.
Brown, 5ft 10, 190 pounds, was ranked No. 53 by Baseball America and No. 63 by MLB Pipeline.
One of the best collegiate shortstops, Brown presents an unusual setup as a hitter, stretching his hands completely overhead before executing a deliberate leg kick and swing from the right side.
The unorthodox stance draws natural comparisons to Craig Counsell, but Brown has modeled his swing after another current Brewers member: Christian Yelich.
“The crazy thing is, and it makes it perfect, that I grew up watching Christian Yelich through high school,” Brown said. “I like sinking in my legs and he’s a guy who sinks in his legs a lot. He was one of the guys that kind of convinced me to have legs and catch up to 95, I can do that in high school.
“I continued to watch him throughout my high school career. As I got older and started to delve deeper into baseball, I found more people to watch. I watch Yelich, Mookie Betts, Mitch Haniger. I watch a few guys, but it all started with Christian Yelich. Being in the same organization as him now, which is crazy.”
Perhaps Brown’s greatest trait is his stroke zone control and hand-eye coordination, which allows him to get the run on the ball despite the many moving parts in his swing. He went on college records in 14.2% of his performances while standing out in just 13.2%.
“I’m very proud of that,” Brown said. “One of my biggest annoyances in baseball is batting. I hate strikes, so I’ve tried to limit them as much as possible and always give myself the best opportunity. I believe that I’ll swing in my seat, and I’m going to will never swing on a pitcher’s pitch if a pitcher is able to paint the corners i will tip my cap.
A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, he is a strong athlete who has stolen 23 bases and been caught nine times in the last two seasons in Coastal Carolina.
“It’s his balanced game, both an attacking player and what we think is a pretty good defender,” said Johnson. “That was certainly part of it. And we love the boy. He is also a good boy and a hard worker. Everything we have about his character is really good. We spoke a lot with his coaches and people like that about the matter and dug deep into it.
“So, pretty excited about all of this, these bits of it. The combination of those things really got us there with him.”
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Jacob Misiorowski in the second round of the MLB draft
In 2018, the Brewers picked up a highly projectable arm with great speed and an impressive breaking pitch from Crowder College.
Four years later, they repeated history.
The Brewers selected right-hander Jacob Misiorowski in the second round on Sunday with the 63rd overall pick, following the path they started four years ago when they selected left-hander Aaron Ashby.
However, there is still much that separates the two.
“They come from quite different places developmentally,” Johnson said. “Obviously we have some level of comfort with what we’re getting from the boys from that school, but it wasn’t a big factor. ‘Miz’ is his own type and really talented. That stood for itself. ”
This talent? The 6-foot-6 Misiorowski can throw 100 mph with impressive spin and easily dominate the junior collegiate hitters at Crowder in the small town of Neosho, Mo. He also boasts a peppy slider that sits in the upper 80s at speed, a curveball and changeup that he’s rarely thrown, but the Brewers’ feel could be a plus.
“It’s electrical stuff,” Johnson said. “Four pitch potential. He’s 6-6, still pretty skinny, some fillings left.
With some of the best clean stuff in the draft, Misiorowski showed up in front of scouts at the MLB Draft Combine last month.
“Pretty pumped to get him down there,” Johnson said. “It was probably one of the best pure weapons in the draft, so that was exciting.”
During his season at Crowder, the 20-year-old Misiorowski hit 136 batters in 76 innings while averaging a 2.72 earned run average. Command is the biggest question mark with him as he was 45 years old in that span.
From Grain Valley, Missouri, in the Kansas City area, Misiorowski barely threw for Crowder, made two appearances and went five with four runs allowed over 2 ⅔ innings. He suffered a knee injury that season which, along with missing his senior year of high school due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a five-round draft that year, kept him from getting any draft looks.
That didn’t stop him from signing with LSU before throwing games in 2022, however, as the right-hander also had offers from Missouri, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M.
With each start at Crowder, his chances of entering the Baton Rouge campus decreased. The Brewers, led by area scout Riley Bandelow, had been after Misiorowski since he was in high school and quickly pounced on him during the draft.
The Milwaukee Brewers take University of Arkansas infielder Robert Moore to close out the day
In a draft full of players with well-known fathers around baseball, the Brewers got into the mix by picking University of Arkansas infielder Robert Moore with the 73rd overall pick in the Competitive Balance B round.
Moore is the son of Kansas City Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore, who, despite playing three years in Arkansas, won’t turn 21 until next March and was the youngest three-year-old college player in this year’s draft. He’s an aggressive swinging, switch-hitting midfielder who hit .264/.381/.486 in his Razorbacks career.
“We think there’s a lot of upside potential in this development,” Johnson said of Moore’s age.
Baseball America had ranked Moore as the No. 98 player in the draft and MLB Pipeline 108th, while FanGraphs had him 44th overall.
His best season was his sophomore year, when he hit 16 home runs in 61 games for a .942 OPS and earned a spot as a contender for a first-round pick that spring.
However, in 2022 he took a step back and hit .232/.374/.427. His average dropped noticeably, but he still had the same number of extra base hits despite his total homer dropping from 16 to eight, and he pulled 42 walks in 65 games.
“Last year he had a little rougher year and that’s why he was available to us at 72,” Johnson said. “He didn’t show the same power but we really like a lot of what he’s good at offensively that was still there. He still controlled the zone.”
Scouts were high on Moore’s instincts, base running and defense as a prospect. He won a Collegiate Gold Glove Award for his work at second base this season and likely projects there for the future, but could do the job at shortstop as well.
The Brewers raved about his mental health and work ethic and believed his best baseball would one day be played in a professional environment.
“He’s a super hard worker,” Johnson said. “He won’t get out of work. We’re excited to let him into pro ball, stepping into everyday life, and we think that with this kind of structure and setup for him, it’s going to really take off.
“He loves baseball. I mean, I think he’s doing well in school, but he loves baseball. He wants to play baseball.”