Jeff Stone was the type of dynamic Philadelphia Phillies‘ prospect who made you believe that the future would be fun. It’s still too early to know if Domonic Brown will prove to be the modern equivalent of that minor league star. But, it’s possible that old school comparison could soon fade.
The 25-year-old’s power stroke is likely to knock down any cheeky references this year. While many of his early-season offensive numbers are similar to past ineffective major league efforts, number 9 is hitting the baseball out of the park at a much higher rate than he has in the past. That alone sets him apart from Stone, whose best asset was speed.
Brown hit two home runs in 62 at bats in 2010. In 2011, he hit five home runs in 184 at bats (One home run per 36.8 at bats). Last season he hit five home runs in 187 at bats (One home run per 37.4 at bats.) So far this season he’s hit six home runs in 119 at bats (One home run per 19.83 at bats).
The Phillies’ current left fielder is healthy and projects to play a full season. At his current pace that would translate into approximately 157 games played, 533 at bats and 27 home runs. Those numbers, along with his low-cost salary (approximately $500,000 again next season and a future arbitration eligible date not scheduled until 2015) should keep him in Philadelphia’s outfield plans.
Young players must be used to replenish the core of many teams. Memories of Stone and a variety of other former ‘prospects’ made Brown a natural target during the past few seasons.
Stone was never able to develop his skill-set during an 8-year major league career that ended in 1990 with the Boston Red Sox. His fate was, is and will always be the norm among most exceptional athletes who strive to play the game at its highest level.
Stone’s hopes were forever dashed when he was forced to leave the major leagues at 29. Brown (25) doesn’t seem likely to become a star, but he has a chance to create a decent career.
The burden of expectations is naturally foisted upon certain young men who collectively serve to renew hope in our teams. Because baseball is like a family, each generation has a new chance to succeed.