Vaun Brown, OF
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2021, 10th Round
LAST LEVEL: High-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #6 Overall, #1 Corner Outfielder
2022 Performance: Arguably, no player had a better season in 2022 than Vaun Brown. Not just in the Giants system, but in all the minors. Across two+ levels, the 24-year old Brown hit .346/.437/.623 with 24 doubles, seven triples, 23 home runs, and 44 steals in 50 attempts. The only thing that slowed Brown down was an injury that occurred in his first game at Double-A on August 26th, which ended his season, though he was still with the team through the playoffs.
How good was it? Since 2006, only four other minor leaguers anywhere have had 20 home runs, 20 steals, a .300 batting average, a .400 on-base percentage, and a .600 slugging percentage. His .346 batting average was the best in all of the minors.
It was Brown’s first full season, and part of his success did come from his age, being a bit older than his competition. Brown was drafted as a 5-year senior, after he got an extra season in college due to the pandemic. Brown did show an expected preference for left-handed pitching, hitting .389 with a .796 slugging percentage against them, compared to hitting .333 and .586 against right-handers respectively.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Athleticism is the hallmark of Vaun Brown, who is the definition of a gym rat. That was a big reason for how good Brown’s numbers were all season, as he outworked and outperformed everyone he faced. He has plus-plus speed, which was a big deal on the basepaths and in the outfield, where he can manage himself at any position with an average arm.
Brown showed excellent skills with the bat at the lowest levels, hitting for both contact and power, but he could be exploited by better pitchers more at higher levels. That should bring down his hitting numbers in general, but he still should have double-digit power and get a lot of extra bases due to his speed.
2023 Outlook: Brown had a serious age advantage against his competition in 2022, and that will be less of an advantage in 2023, as he’s expected to start in Double-A. It’s likely fans will get to see a more realistic view of the player Brown is in Richmond.
Future Profile: Brown wowed fans and scouts alike with his breakout season and that may have set some unrealistic expectations. Still, there’s the tools to be an everyday outfielder, with an All-Star ceiling. His athleticism gives him a very high floor, as he will always have value of a versatile defensive outfielder and weapon on the basepaths, if he is not able to replicate his hitting from 2022.