2011 Spring Training

2011 Phillies Offensive Preview, Part 2: Right Field

In the week before Opening Day, we’re looking at each of the five offensive positions that are not known quantities.

Part 1: Intro and First Base
Part 2: Right Field
Part 3: Left Field (Friday afternoon)
Part 4: Shortstop (Saturday morning)
Part 5: Second Base (Saturday afternoon)

Right Field: Ben Francisco, Opening Day Age: 29
2010: 197 PA, .268/.327/.441, 6 HR, 8 SB
2011 (Bill James-projected): 330 PA, .271/.336/.446, 10 HR, 10 SB

By “Ben Francisco” here, I mean “some combination of Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown, Ross Gload, and John Mayberry.” Charlie Manuel seems determined, in the absence of Jayson Werth, not to pick a starting right fielder. Here’s the scoop: none of these guys is Jayson Werth, but put together, they’re not bad. Francisco has some speed, some power, and hits lefties very well (.901 OPS in 2010), but isn’t much good against righties (.640 OPS in 2010). Gload, a lefty, actually hits for a higher average against left-handed pitching, but has a higher OBP and slugging percentage against right-handed pitching. Mayberry has been red-hot this spring, but at 27 years old, Mayberry is quickly leaving the age group where one could reasonably expect him to improve.

Then there’s Domonic Brown. If Domonic Brown doesn’t get at least 500 plate appearances in 2012, Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel ought to be brought up on charges. Simply put, Brown is too good to keep in the minor leagues–there’s nothing more he can learn by hitting against AAA pitching. The only way he’s going to learn to hit major league lefties is to actually, you know, hit against major league lefties. Imagine you wanted to learn to play the saxophone like Charlie Parker. Would your music teacher make you keep playing the recorder after you’d mastered it? Or keep you from playing sax more than a few minutes a week, to make sure you didn’t get tired or lose confidence? Or when he did let you play saxophone, only give you easy music?

Of course not–he’d challenge you, even when you hit a bump in the road (Domonator’s winter ball and early spring training, for instance) because that’s the only way to improve at anything. The upside on Brown, with his swing and athleticism, is very nearly Ken Griffey Jr. And unless he gets those major league at-bats soon, he’ll never reach that potential. I’ll give Uncle Cholly and Ruben a pass this year, because Brown is still a rookie, and his broken hand will likely sap his power for the rest of 2011. But come this time next year, if Domonic Brown isn’t starting in a corner outfield spot I’m crackin’ skulls. Okay. Rant’s over.

The short version of the right field story? Some combination of four guys is going to be mediocre at the plate and pretty bad in the field for most of 2011. Nothing to make you go out and buy a new shirzey, but at the same time, nothing to make you stay up nights, staring longingly at a well-worn photograph of Jayson Werth.

Click to comment


  1. Brooks

    March 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Michael, I’m not sure why you are saying that Charlie is not picking someone for right field when the choices that are provided him are pretty limited. It seems he will do the best he can with what he has, there has been absolutely no effort to find a replacement for Werth at this point.

  2. Ted Bell

    March 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Charlie’s trying to say all the right things, but you can tell he’s not happy about the everyday lineup he’ll be going to battle with.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  3. Manny

    March 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Heavy B just pitched 6 shutout innings!

    Also, J-roll is in the 3-hole.. Shane leading off, and Castillo batting 2nd. Castillo still doesn’t have a hit, but has 2 walks and scored a run so far.

    Oh and Polly is back in the lineup for some limited action!

  4. Don M

    March 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Comparing hitting a baseball . . . with varying degree of difficulty on each individual pitch . . . with playing an instrument is like comparing Apples to Cars

    If Brown is still “learning” he should do it where it won’t hurt the big league club… and until they are sure that he’d produce better than Francisco, Gload, and/or Mayberry . . he SHOULD be in AAA trying to perfect his skills … He’ll be a starter next year, but for this year there is no need

    I know a strong right arm isn’t part of Francisco’s best assests (he’s best suited as a LF) .. but I think Defensively, he’s pretty good??? Pases my Eye-Test .. not sure about all the crazy stats about things like – zone ratings after 8:45pm on weekday games, while less than 4 games are scheduled on the West Coast though

  5. Brooks

    March 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Regarding Jroll hitting 3rd – he has 2 hits today including a HR. The last time I noticed he hit 3rd, he had 3 hits. That probably comes close to equaling his ST total hits for the year.

    Hmm.. got anything up your sleeve Cholly?

  6. Publius

    March 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Hope not. With that small of a sample size it’s hard to really get excited about the long-term prospects of Rollins in the 3 hole. Letting a guy who has OPSed only .710 in the last 2 years hit in the 3 hole is not the key to offensive success.

  7. Don M

    March 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    putting all your stock in one player’s OPS-success during two seasons in which he was injured…. ?? Clearly Rollins isn’t the best 3-hitter on the team . . . but the goal is to have the best overall lineup ..and if that means Rollins 3rd or 5th … Castillo 1st, 2nd, 8th … etc . . . Whatever works, works..

    Lets not get caught up in the specific numbers somebody did or didn’t post in small sample sizes, but trust in the coaches and managers to put these guys in the best position to help the team

  8. betasigmadeltashag

    March 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I know you all love to throw Gload in the mix into right field but really, did any of you see the 3/4 games he played out there last year. Maybe a slightly better RF then Vlad but no one else, if he starts more then 3-4 games out there I will be surprised and disappointed. As for Browns future, I think if Ben steps up this year he will be in RF next year with Brown in left

  9. betasigmadeltashag

    March 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I mixed that up should read Ben in LF Brown in right

  10. Lefty

    March 26, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Nice job Michael, i’m enjoying the series very much. Ben Fran seems very locked in to me, I hope it stays that way. Also he showed a nice arm to prevent a scoring attempt yesterday (true it was the pitcher rounding third) but maybe he’ll be better defensively than we think.

    I’ve never caught myself staring longingly at a photograph of Jason Werth or any other ballplayer for that matter. But we will miss him. I read today that the Natinals will be batting him second. With his OBP, speed, and ability to work a pitchers count, that makes sense on so many levels. We should have done that. Oh well on to the future.

  11. Manny

    March 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Francisco has a candy of an arm.

  12. business

    March 30, 2011 at 6:32 am

    the young phenom delivered a bomb sending an already raucous crowd into an even bigger frenzy..It was the first swing of Heywards major league career and it landed in the Braves bullpen beyond right field at a jaw-dropping distance of 446 feet..Zeus is that you sporting No. 22?.The gifted and talented 20-year-old began writing the first page of his legacy yesterday all the while stealing the show on Opening Day..Heyward ended the afternoon with two hits and four RBI aiding in Atlantas of the Chicago Cubs..Yunel Escobar powered in 5 runs for the Braves and Nate McLouth made a couple of flashy defensive plays in Atlantas victory..However much like its been all spring the day and the spotlight belonged to Heyward..J-Hey got a huge ovation from the Atlanta faithful as he was circling the bases following his dinger and another when he trotted to his right field position the next inning..Turner Field hasnt been this electric in years if ever..While the outpouring of crowd support is welcoming to a club hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005 the players only hope the fans will sustain it..As Heywards legend continues to grow larger with each passing day Atlantas rejuvenated fanbase looks to follow suit..But the fans arent the only ones enthralled with the power-hitting rookie..His teammates and even home run king Hank Aarons eyes are on the sensational marvel that is Jason Heyward..Baseballs home run king threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Heyward in what many surmised as the passing of the torch..It took less time for Heywards first blast to travel over the bullpen wall than for the comparisons between the two to pick up steam and hold more merit..It was a symbolic start to what promises to be a career for the ages for Atlantas new superhero..For those of you who would prefer to get Daria s blogs by email for FREE please .

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