The Philadelphia Phillies sent young outfielder Domonic Brown down to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs to begin the 2012 season.GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. had previously said Brown would spend all of ’12 in the minor leagues, likely an attempt to take pressure off the struggling Brown.
Brown hit .300 (6-for-20) with two triples and a home run this spring for the Phillies, although he is still a liability defensively in left field. Brown had previously been ranked as high as the fourth overall prospect in baseball. After the team let go of right fielder Jayson Werth following 2010, Brown was expected to vacate the spot left by Brown heading into the 2011 season.
Brown was hit by a pitch in spring training though and broke his hand, meaning the Phillies started the season with Ben Francisco manning the position. Brown hit .341 in his first 11 Triple-A games after returning from his injury and was subsequently called up to the big-league team, although he never had the effect on the club the team had hoped.
Brown finished 2011 with just a .245/.333/.391 line plus five home runs and 19 RBIs in 210 plate appearances. Brown hasn’t fared well in limited attempts to show his skills with the major league club but it’s also way too early to give up on him. The Phillies will assuredly go with a platoon of John Mayberry, Jr. and Laynce Nix in left field, but if Brown does well in Triple-A, he will definitely get the call.
In center field, Shane Victorino is a free agent after the season and the team will have to decide whether they think they can afford to re-sign him. Hunter Pence in right field becomes a free agent after 2013, and management will have a similar situation to make with him. Ideally, the Phillies will re-sign both and the outfield by ’13 will consist of Brown in left, Victorino in center, and Pence in right.