Domonic Brown looked like he was going to have a good year and he still might. But, less than a month into the new season the Philadelphia Phillies must be wondering how long they can listen to this old song?
The ‘crowd’ has been split for a long time. Some believed, or still believe, that Brown has potential. Others have felt for awhile that this ‘prospect’ was never going to make it in the major leagues.
At 25, the Phillies’ 2006 twentieth round draft choice isn’t old. But, he has been a professional baseball player across eight seasons because he’s been in the system since he was 18. If Brown had been drafted when he was 22 and was hitting in the low .200s as a 30-year-old, this story would be different. In fact, it might be over.
Due to the team’s payroll issues and a dearth of ready-right-now outfielders, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. literally made space for Brown on the team last summer. His trades of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence on the same deadline day last July (31) re-opened the doors at Citizens Bank Park for a third time. After a productive spring, he then earned the full-time left field job.
On the upside, he’s posted a 1.000 fielding percentage in 18 games (17 in left field and one in right field). No one will confuse him with a golden glover, but he’s been okay out there and that’s enough.
After cutting the loop out of his swing in Triple-A last season and repeating that plate approach in the majors last summer and early fall, it appeared as though Brown was finally coming around offensively. Optimism can bite you if too much hope is mixed with your logical drink.
Watching Brown oddly shift his weight when swinging this season, thereby throwing himself off-balance, is yet another wrinkle in this young man’s game. This isn’t a truly fair comparison to make, but he’s also begun to resemble numerous promising ‘prospects’ from the era that painfully stretched from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s.
Brown has great physical talent, which has carried him all the way to the major leagues. He’s always demonstrated a genuine willingness to learn and also has a resilient spirit. These personality points have helped him to be given every last chance to succeed.
Unless he proves that he can consistently hit a baseball in the relatively near future, there will be no justification for keeping him in the starting lineup, or eventually on the team. He’s a candidate to be platooned, demoted, dealt, or some combination of the three, at some point this year.