While the results on the baseball field have not always been the best this season, Philadelphia Phillies fans have reasons to be optimistic. Maybe not this year and maybe not the next, but the organization very much plans to bring a championship back to the city and if 2013 is any indication, we are all watching the very core that could do it develop before our eyes.
As it should, this core begins with Domonic Brown.
The once top prospect of the organization and one of the best in the league, it took Brown a little longer to come into his own than many scouts had expected. Finally a full-time starter in left field, Brown has blossomed into the type of player he was always destined to be and then some.
While no one expects the now 25-year-old lefty to continue hitting home runs at a torrid pace, it certainly has been fun to watch and has shown the potential Brown really has. Some, probably most, have called him a bust, but Brown has proven otherwise and has done so under the very watchful eye of the critical fans.
With a month of May that saw him win NL Player of the Month and become the first Phillie to ever win back-to-back player of the week awards, Brown saw his average jump to .289 and his RBI total climb over 40. With 18 home runs, Brown also wrestled the NL home run lead away from Justin Upton, who had stormed out of the gate and led since the first game of the season.
Although not an All-Star yet, it is very much fair to say that in Brown, a star was born — and a star that could lead the Phillies for years to come.
But beyond Brown, there are even younger players that have not disappointed.
On the pitching end, this includes rookie starter Jonathan Pettibone, who stormed out of the gate, winning three of his first five starts (the other two were no decisions). More importantly however, he kept the walks (which had been an issue in the minors) down, and managed to go until his eighth start of the season before giving up more than three earned runs.
While names like Adam Morgan and Jesse Biddle are ahead of him with regards to who will be the future ace, Pettibone is making a name for himself. There is no doubt that he can be a great No. 2 or 3 at the lowest on this future roster.
When it comes to the infield, it won’t be long until aging stars Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are replaced by Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez.
Two incredible gloves, Hernandez and Galvis will make one heck of a double-play combo in the middle infield. While neither have hit particularly well, Hernandez has only received limited at-bats. A .300 hitter in the minors, much will be expected of the 23-year-old Hernandez as he continues to get major league experience.
Of course, there are other names that make up this future roster, and much of those might actually see playing time in 2013. September call-ups could see future catcher Tommy Joseph and perhaps Morgan or even Biddle making their major league debuts.
So even if the Phillies miss the playoffs in 2013, the future is bright and getting brighter with each new Phillie that makes his major league debut.