Former SF Giants first baseman and current head baseball coach at Florida Southern, Lance Niekro, joined Joe Castellano on the most recent episode of Inside China Basin. The pair had a wide-ranging discussion about Niekro’s career and life trajectory. However, they also discussed recent Giants draft pick Vaun Brown, who was selected in the 10th round of this summer’s draft.
SF Giants draft pick Vaun Brown receives high praise from Lance Niekro.
Brown, who is the first player under Niekro to be drafted, received rave reviews from his former coach. Niekro explained that while Brown was a very raw prospect when he first arrived on campus, he’s always had plus speed and defensive ability in the outfield. Last year, Brown was supposed to wrap up his college career, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled his final season.
After the NCAA granted seniors, like Brown, an extra year of collegiate eligibility, Niekro credits him for taking his game to another level:
"“He [Vaun Brown] really benefitted from the fifth year, the COVID year last year with all the players getting another year back. He took it and ran with it. He got his body in better baseball shape. He’s always been really strong and a cut up person, but he really tuned his body into playing shape and worked his butt off everyday, became a team leader, and really took off. It was a fun year to watch him and it felt like everytime he came up he was going to hit the ball hard.”-Florida Southern head baseball coach Lance Niekro"
The numbers bear out what Niekro described. Brown was a starter from his first days on campus but hit just .260/.347/.378 with 23 steals in his first three seasons. The Sarasota, Florida native seemed to be trending in the right direction before the pandemic canceled the 2020 season, hitting .286/.375/.571 in 18 games. However, Brown reached an even higher level this spring. In 130 plate appearances, Brown hit 13 home runs (his single-season high entering the year was six) and recorded an incredible .387/.462/.793 against Division-II competition.
The SF Giants selected Florida Southern outfielder Vaun Brown in the 10th round of this summer’s MLB draft. Obviously, the jump from Division-II to the professional ranks will pose some serious challenges for Brown, but according to his college coach, Lance Niekro, the organization has added a talented player trending in the right direction.