Writer’s Roundtable: The Domonic Brown Situation – Phillies Nation

Writer’s Roundtable: The Domonic Brown Situation

Domonic Brown looks like he could become the Phillies full-time right fielder next year after trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino have allowed him to be up with the big club for what looks to be a permanent stay.

However, it seems like Philadelphia is split on their opinions of him. Some say he stinks, some say he’s great, and others remain patient that he will reach his ceiling one day. Here are some of the opinions of the Phillies Nation staff on the Domonic Brown situation:

Pat Gallen: There’s no doubt he should play every single day, no matter the pitching he’s facing that night. If the Phillies want this guy to be an everyday corner outfielder, then it’s time to take the diapers off and lets him grow up. It means fighting through the inevitable highs and lows.

The way he’s been handled sucks. The Hunter Pence trade sticks out because it truly stunted his growth at the major league level. He lost his focus after that happened.

But that’s all in the past now and you can see Brown becoming acclimated with the majors nicely. I’ve been promoting patience to the fan base when it comes to Dom. Let him play every single day and around the middle of next season we’ll know who Dom Brown is as a player.

Ryan Dinger: At this point, I don’t think there’s any disagreement when suggesting that the Phillies haven’t provided Domonic Brown ideal playing conditions in his quest to develop into a big league ballplayer. This pattern of inconsistent at bats, coupled with his recent streak of injuries, has made it a rocky road to the majors for Brown.

But now that he’s relatively healthy, and the Phillies have nothing to compete for, there’s no one on the 40-man roster better suited to play everyday at one of the three outfield positions than Domonic Brown. You start him everyday to close out this season, and pencil his name in as one of the starting outfielders for 2013.

Eric Seidman: The entire situation is very frustrating. The Phillies were a great team before acquiring Hunter Pence, and the best half-season of his career made them an excellent regular season squad. But the trade had its drawbacks. For starters, the Phillies traded away two premium offensive prospects in Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana. Second, it meant that Domonic Brown wouldn’t get regular playing time at the major league level. Even if Brown struggled mightily for a month, the Phillies would have played well enough as a team to make the playoffs.

Brown is a very patient hitter, which is tougher to develop at the major league level. The power will come, but his ability to take walks, avoid swinging at slop, and post a .350+ OBP is very encouraging. Realistically, the silver lining to this mess of a season is that the team is now forced to play him everyday, without platooning him, demoting him, or messing with his game.

Ian Riccaboni: I think Domonic Brown is one of the most athletic, talented, and promising young players to arrive in Phillies pinstripes since Chase Utley. A lot of the criticisms that fans pinned on Utley early on in his career are similar to those that follow Brown: good-but-not-great plate discipline, bad defense, but not ready enough right now to contribute on a team that is ready to win now.

Yet, Brown has turned the corner in 2012. Brown is now fully-healthy for the first time since October 2010 and his improved plate discipline numbers are encouraging at worst and tantalizing at best. I am certainly excited that the best option to play every day finally is playing every day.

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  1. Lefty

    August 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Ryan, I don’t know anyone that thinks he stinks. There is argument about how high the ceiling is, sure, but people think that he stinks? I don’t know, not my circle of friends.

    The bar was set too high in the first place. I think he is a good ball player, and that’s what he’ll be.

  2. Double Trouble Del

    August 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I agree. Superstardom may not be in Dom Brown’s future but I think he has the ability to be a plus player who can contribute to a winning team.

  3. TheDipsy

    August 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I think that Dom has a great eye at the plate. The more pitches he sees this year, the better hitter he’ll be next year. Lets just let him concentrate on the strike zone. When he came up before there was pressure on him to perform – now, it doesn’t matter – and I think he feels he can work on his eye and just hitting the ball hard somewhere. I love what I see of him as a hitter. In fact, I would move him to lead of and just tell him to get on base – no matter how.

    He’s a poor fielder. Maybe he’ll never be a good fielder. He’s got a good arm though. Its hard to teach guys to see the ball right off the bat and to take good lines to the ball. I hope he improves.

    IMO, his stock has risen. I think he starts next year. Now we need just two more outfielders.

    The Dipsy

    P.S. At least Boston has the balls to admit they made a mistake and do something to fix it.

    • Lefty

      August 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

      I really don’t think he’s any worse out there than Hunter Pence, and the arm looks like it’s better.

      Question, seeing what it looks like the Dodgers have done, – Do you think the Dodgers would have taken a package of Lee and Howard for similar return?

      • Ken Bland

        August 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        No, I don’t think the Dodgers give up the same package for Lee and Howard. They gave up 2 very touted pitching prospects. In fact, de la Rosa pitched against the Phils once, and you could see him having a successful career as a starter from that game. Honestly, I don’t recall details of that start, but remember being impressed with him. But you consider a comparison of of A Gon and Ryan, why give up as much, especially since the Phils would be hard pressed to add a talent like Crawford, though he’s a lot of financial obligation, and it has to be considered an assumption that he still has a good career ahead of him.

        AGon can hit lefties, and play good defense, and is about 3 years younger. But the thought of Howard replacing Loney would still be attractive to LA, seemingly at a more reasonable price.

        I’m interested to see how the Beckett acquisition effects Blanton. They’d still have time to flip him, but for what they’d figure to get, they might as well keep the depth.

      • Lefty

        August 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm

        Thanks for the answer Ken, I think of Crawford as more of a bad contract than a talented player, which might have made the deal better. Anyway, check my comment below.

  4. phildirt

    August 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Pat nailed it. “The way he has been handled sucks.” We should all reserve comment until Dom Brown is allowed one whole season as an OF. When I say one whole season I mean Spring Training ’til the World Series (one can still dream). And not “pencil in his name” for 2013, as Ryan stated. Get the Sharpie out when you put his name on the roster card. It is time to throw caution to the wind and commit.

    If we give him that chance and he blows it, I’ll be the one leading the charge of pitchfork & torch bearing fans to CBP screaming for his ouster. Until then, give the young man a chance to prove himself.

  5. xxLouA

    August 25, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Dom is a good player who just needs to play and he has proven that part IMHO.
    I think he is a better fielder than Pence who I really think is a waste.
    getting rid of Victorino was a mistake and far as I’m concerned Amaro made quite a few of them. They need one more guy in OF.

    • George

      August 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Had they not traded Victorino, he’d be gone at the end of the year in free agency, and they’d have gotten no return at all. Also he certainly had no importance on a team in last place at the time of the trade. I agree that he’s a nice player, but it was time to get looks at others.

  6. Ryne Duren

    August 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

    pat is right about the way he was handled.i wasn’t a big brown fan because of the lack of his so called 5 “tools” and the hype which he failed badley. however with that said he has shown he’s worked on a few things. he’s tracking the ball a lot better, catching the ball about 65% of the time with two hands, and he’s lowered his hands some at the plate making him less vulnerable to the inside high pitch. he always had a pretty good eye at the plate. i for one think he should be a strong candidate to start for us next year. he’s shown he’s worked on some of his deficiencies. and he’s performed better than i expected so i’m on with dom! continue to play him every day and a person who is willing to correct his problems deserves to be given a fuul “shot” at starting next year. he still hasn’t shown to me that he has the speed they said , but right now that might be from the injury he had earlier in the season sohe might still be feeling the effects of that. hey his obp is really good! and the young man has power it’s just a matter of time getting comfy and i think we’ll see more. get a center fielder, put ruf in left ,an 8th inn. setup guy, and a 3rd basemen and we’re back! woo hoo! go dom! and go phils!

  7. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    August 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Sometimes when the bar is set too high, the extra pressure and expectations take their toll on ones psyche until you resemble Sissyphus rolling the boulder in the Underworld for eternity. That being said, I agree that the kid has been mismanaged. Let him play. Let most of the young guys play. They are hungry and passionate, see Kratz and Frandsen. The season is lost as per anything remotely substantial in the way of a title or possible playoff chance (we will see though barring a miracle), so let these guys get experience and give their all. Other teams have done it with success, like the gNats.
    I love Brown’s plate discipline. I said it on an earlier post that the minor league staff does a great job of working with developing and correcting the hitter’s approaches when they get sent down. Take note Greg Gross from your hidden cave in the dugout. Maybe Brown can teach the multi-million earner, Howard, how to work an at-bat, even if it is junk down and away.
    : )


    August 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The handling of Dom Brown illustrates a problem with the Phillies. They are not skilled at bring players along. Neither Amaro or Manuel show skill in developing players. That is a problem today. A team like the Rays does an excellent job at this and as a result, they control their payroll and always are among the top American League teams. A strong farm system has always been vital to most teams’ success. Now, more than ever.

    • Ken Bland

      August 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Yo, Bart. Ya have to admit you named only one example of a club that brings along young talent, and it’s a team that had more enviable draft positions for close to 10 years. Oh, by the way, the Phillies developed Burrell, Howard, Utley, Hamels, Rollins and Ruiz when they were drafting in reasonably similar positions. Young talent’s not easy to devlop.

      • Ken Bland

        August 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        Oh, and by the way, they also developed Mr. Kendrick, and as your only as good as your last 3 games, might as well add him to the developed list.

  9. Brooks

    August 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I don’t remember seeing the chapter that said “ideal playing conditions” or anything else that would make his start different than the average player. You come in and take advantage of the opportunities you get. Did D Brown do this in 2010? No Did D Brown take advantage of his opportunities in 2011? No

    The Phils have painted themselves into the proverbial corner. They have to let D Brown play everyday. What choices do they have? Nix, Mayberry, Pierre – this is our outfield.. This is probably one of the worst outfields in the majors today, lets all hope that D Brown lives up to the hype.

    And, just for the record, coming to bat 3 times with the bases loaded and failing to plate one run will not cut it. The boys will get the hits and only score when the big boys knock them in.

  10. Ken Bland

    August 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

    “The power will come, but his ability to take walks, avoid swinging at slop, and post a .350+ OBP is very encouraging.”

    You’re darn tootin’, Eric Seidman.

    Particularlky about the power will come. I was looking at some Donny “Ballgame” Mattingly numbers last night, and his first gobs of playing time gave zero indication he’d ever homer 8 games in a row, let alone produce a borderline HOF career..

  11. smitty

    August 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I agree with most of the comments above – just giving him a chance to see what he really has is the key and the team has nowhere to go but up – so why not ? Ultimately, I believe his fielding will improve with repetition – at least to Pence + and Abreu++ levels. While seeming to be quicker today I see him eventually bulking up more and that will bring the power. I would liken him to a Reggie Smith (slightly lite) and ultimately to compare to Jermaine Dye with a little less power. Both of those players had decent to + OBP, as Dom does, some pop, 30 doubles annuallly, and OPS about .850. The latter maybe is too optimistic for Dom. I see the main risk as he develops / or pitching locates his batting “holes.” Then he would be left with a typical .260 ba; 17 HR ; 70 RBI player assuming he plays every day. That looks more like Ollie Brown type numbers. So I see his upside as Reggie Smith / downside Ollie Brown/Willie Kirkland. But he has to play.

  12. David

    August 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Brown looks good. He has been as productive as Pence offensively (look at OPS) and his defense is probably better.

  13. arc

    August 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I think this Red Sox Dodgers deal redefines what phillies fans think they can and cant do as far as moves in the future.

    • George

      August 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      The L.A.-Boston trade was a fluke; the Dodgers just happen to have a ton of money, which other teams don’t. Boston was having all kinds of problems; more problems than the Phils, even, because they were already over the tax threshold, had no prospects, and bad clubhouse chemistry. They pretty much had to blow up the whole roster and start over.

      Sure, it may look easier to dump salary now, but not all teams are as rich as the Dodgers. I’ll add that not all teams are as stupid, either. They just bought the way-too-expensive contracts of an injured outfielder, an underachieving pitcher, and a utility infielder, and gave up some pretty good prospects to do so. It’s probable the only player who will prove his worth is Gonzalez. This one trade, I believe, will make some of Amaro’s blunders look like genius moves.

  14. TheDipsy

    August 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Seriously. I mean, if Boston fans will stand for the gutting of their whole team, Philly fans could certainly stand for the swapping of Ryan Howard. Although the Dodgers have NO concern for how much money they spend. Obviously they understand that triggering the luxury tax doesn’t mean squat when your team is great and you have your own TV network. This is going to affect the Phils and put pressure on them to spend a little more money. You might see the two highest spending teams in the league meeting in the WS this year.

    The Dipsy

    • George

      August 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      My thoughts on Brown are that this entire discussion is meaningless unless the writers are talking about next season. It’s been rather obvious that the Phils are already using Brown every game this year. It’s make-or-break for him right now.

  15. Lefty

    August 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    My only question on the Dodgers-Red Sox trade is this:

    Did the Phillies miss an opportunity to shed a bunch of payroll ? (by taking advantage of the Dodgers like Boston just did)

    Please don’t take an emotional stance to the question. I’m not stating that this is what they should have done, lord knows I’m no GM.

    I’m just asking that when considering their age, past injury problems, how this year has gone, and any L.T. restraints they currently face,- would a move like Boston made have been wise for the Phillies? That might make a good posting topic PN people!

    • Jeff Dowder

      August 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Amaro missed out on a golden opportunity to let the Dodgers just take Lee’s bad deal off his hands. He didn’t even need to get a player back – just letting him go for nothing would have helped the organization improve. Even if Lee’s 2016 vesting option doesn’t kick in, he’ll cost the team an average of over $29 million over the next three seasons as he declines.

      Ben Cherington should be executive of the year for shedding those bad deals that Epstein left behind.

  16. TheDipsy

    August 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Well, the Dodgers claimed Lee on waivers so they were prepared to to take at least HIS money. A trade of Lee and Howard to the Dodgers? Why not? They took Crawford who is hurt. My guess is that the only reason a deal like that doesn’t get done is because Phils management wouldn’t have the balls to do it.

    Lefty – Gonzo is good. Beckett is good. Crawford could have been good next year. Boston could have contended next year with those players. Would moving Lee and Howard been wise for the Phillies? IMO, yes. My reason is simple: the “production per $” you could get in the offseason via FA and trades would be higher in “production per $” that wat those two guys represent, even if they have average seasons. Its really bad PR, though. But Boston bit it and did what was best for the longer term health of the franchise. They did what Congress needs to do. Not to bring politics in it but I just did.

    All I have to say about this deal is “wow”. hats off to Boston for doing what they thought was right and taking the hard road. Doesn’t make them heroes or anything but you know what I mean.

    The Dipsy

    • George

      August 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      It’s quite likely that the Dodgers wouldn’t have wanted Howard, so that proposed trade probably wouldn’t happen. It may or may not have been unwise to keep Lee. That depends on two things: how he performs beyond this season ( this year is probably an anomaly) or if they can get more than just salary relief if they choose to trade him in the off-season.

      Boston’s situation was entirely different than the Phils’. Becket had been a bad clubhouse example, as well as an underachieving performer, Gonzalez had been rumored to be one of the leaders of the revolt against the manager, and they were so tied down by budget that they had to make a move. Their farm system had few prospects. The Phils’ problems this year were largely due to injuries, and the one player they actually didn’t have to move was Pence; the others were all going to be free agents.

      I’ve also read that LA so wanted Gonzalez that they were willing to take on the dead weight of the others. The same may not have been true of Cliff Lee; they may not have valued him enough to take on some of Philadelphia’s walking wounded.

  17. DavidE

    August 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    The Red Sox got the better of the deal. They got rid of Crawford’s contract.

    Should the Phillies have gotten rid of Cliff Lee if the Dodgers offerred to take his contract? Lee is still a good pitcher and would be better if the team had a bullpen that Charlie had confidence in. It would be interesting to see what his ERA in the 7th and later innings is compared to his ERA for the 1st through 6th innings.

    So its entirely a financial decision-Is Cliff Lee wortth $87 million to the Phillies for the next 3 years? The way that I look at it is that the teams that are winning with pitching win with their pitching depth and not just the starters. The Braves and Giants can win if their starters can get them a 1 or 2 run lead going into the 7th inning. The Nationals are tough like that too. It”s pitching depth and this year the Phillies don’t have it. The Mets don”t have it and that’s why they fell apart despite great efforts by R.A. Dickey, John Niesse and Matt Harvey.

    My view is that you have to build a team with depth. You can’t put all of your chips on a few players.

    • Lefty

      August 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      Good comment DavidE,
      The only problem I have with it is that RA Jr. did try (unsuccessfully) to bring in bullpen help last offseason. I’m not usually one to defend RA Jr., but in this case he realized he had a hole to fill and signed these free agents:

      He also made what at the time was an unpopular trade of Valdez for Horst.

      And of course he overpaid for the other FA, Papelbon, but that’s another argument for another time, but the point is he went after pitching depth, and struck out.

      If you want to say the Phillies need better advanced scouting and metrics people so they can get better players, I can’t argue that. But in terms of depth at reliever they did try to improve.

  18. TheDipsy

    August 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I agree. But Lee, Hamels, and Roy are paid to go 8 innings every time out. A team built like that is not gonna have 5 real good bullpen pieces. The Mets also can’t hit.

    The Dipsy

    • Jeff Dowder

      August 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      The amount of innings that the Phillies starters pitched in 2011 was a statistical anomaly. It was a once in a generation occurrence that came about in a season when everything went right. If RAJ based his 2012 bullpen plans on that happening again he obviously made a big mistake. If he doesn’t learn from that mistake when planning for 2013 he should be fired. Halladay will be 36 and Lee will be 34 next season – they aren’t 8 inning guys any longer.

  19. Stuart Evans

    August 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    In RAJr’s 4 years he’s butchered an amazing team despite inheriting a good farm system & getting high payroll flexibility. He’s awful at assessing & development young players, overpaying & overguaranteed most contracts, given away the farm to rent talent via trades that didn’t yield anything (Oswalt, Pence) & gotten little back for giving away talent (Pence, Vic, Lee2009). The Pence2011 trade-who does homework? For a below avg fielder & thinker with a very odd & inflexible game who has never been a winner why give up our top 2 prospects, a 3rd prospect & as PTBNL throw in DSantana our 18 yr old w massive ceiling.

  20. Bruce

    August 28, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Based on small samples (so far), Brown is showing a little more discipline at the plate but not to the degree of being consistent. Major league pitching is a whole different level for Brown and if there is a weakness or holes in his swing, they will find it and the word will get around the league. Therefore, I will reserve judgment on him. I will watch to see if he can make adjustment on pitches where he can look awful in his last at bat and have success on the same offerings the next time with the same pitcher.

    If he can continue to mature as a hitter with the playing time he is receiving now and the beginning of next season, he will be competent enough to be productive in his future years. I doubt he can be a “all-star” type player but that is more a subjective thought I have because he reminds me a lot of Mayberry Jr.who had the same potential but continues to be inconsistent with his at bats. However, Mayberry has more value as a fielder than Brown because of hs ability to play several positions and do it well. That is why the Phillies manager will keep Mayberry on next year’s roster.

    • schmenkman

      August 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

      Brown may have looked impatient at times, but his plate discipline was already very good last year, especially for a young hitter. There were 24 players in the majors in 2011 who were 23 or younger and had at least 200 plate appearances.

      Out of those 24, Brown ranked…

      2nd in BB/K ratio
      1st in BB% (walks as a % of plate appearances)

      This year, he’s walking less (11.9% to 9.1%), but he’s also striking out less (16.7% to 13.1%). His K/BB ratio is even better than last year’s (from 1.44 to 1.40). If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, he’s K/BB would be 25th best out of 141.

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