It all seemed like a nice plan when it was conceived by the brain trust of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The team could afford to carry a singles hitter at one of the power positions, center field, if they got good power numbers by the corner outfielders. That’s ostensibly why GM Ruben Amaro Jr. went out and signed free agent Marlon Byrd and his 24 homers in the offseason to augment Domonic Brown’s 27 homers.
Figuring the two could match or even exceed those numbers at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park was not a reach, so what Brown has done — or, more precisely, has not done — so far this season is killing the team.
Suddenly, Brown has had a power failure, and there is no sign of recapturing the mojo. His slugging percentage is .287, which is remarkable considering that centerfielder Ben Revere, who has never hit a major league home run, has a higher slugging percentage. Brown has one home run in 132 plate appearances this season.
Brown and Revere have a combined eight extra-base hits this season in 259 plate appearances. That’s okay for Revere, but it is not with Brown because a viable MLB team cannot afford to carry two starters in positions where power numbers are expected.
The plan might have been flawed in the first place because, other than last season, Brown never really showed an ability to hit a lot of home runs on a consistent basis in any season other than 2013. From 2010 to 2012, in three part-time seasons, Brown hit a total of 12 homers. In his best minor-league season, 2010, he hit a total of 20 home runs between double-A and triple-A. Prior to that, he never hit more than 14 homers in any minor-league season.
So maybe expecting him to be a power hitter might have been unrealistic. Now the Phillies are saddled with the prospect of two singles hitters playing power positions and of all their problems, that has to be right at the top.