It is almost a month into his new contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and Delmon Young is already likely to start the season on the disabled list.
Young was signed to a one-year deal worth $750,000 with additional incentives that could bring the contract to a total over $2.5 million. The biggest worry for the season was not Young’s contract, however.
Young is still recovering from a microfracture surgery that he had on his ankle earlier in November. The recovery period, compiled with the battle to meet his weight goals for the season, are the biggest causes for concern in Philadelphia.
With Young likely to be out until May, the pressure of succeeding falls on the shoulders of 25-year old outfielder Domonic Brown.
Brown is entering his fourth season in MLB, but 2013 could be his first full season in the major leagues. He has played in 147 games through his brief tenure in Philadelphia.
Brown has batted .236 with only 12 home runs and 58 runs-batted-in in that time. He will likely be the replacement in right field for Young, given the fact that he has played right field more consistently over the past couple of seasons than Laynce Nix, John Mayberry Jr., and Darin Ruf.
A .236 average should scare people a bit, but not as much as one would think.
Despite the low batting average, Brown has a career OBP of .315 and a career OPS of .703. These numbers are higher than the average player that bats around .236.
What Phillies fans should also realize is that Brown was called up late last season. In his first 25 games with the Phillies, 23 of them being starts, Brown recorded a .270 average with 24 hits, eight going for extra bases, knocked in 11 runs, and also sports an OPS of .725.
Compared to Mayberry Jr., Brown had the higher OPS. Though Mayberry Jr. played in almost 90-plus more games, Brown showed glimpses of progression.
Glimpses of progression are not going to get the job done in Philadelphia this season, however. If the Phillies want to return to the post-season, Brown will need to pan out into the five-tool prospect that the organization believes he can be.
The heat is gradually increasing for Brown, can he take it? Or will he have to get out of the kitchen?