Phillies Player Review: Domonic Brown – Phillies Nation
2012 Player Reviews

Phillies Player Review: Domonic Brown

Domonic Brown needs to step up.

With Hunter Pence now in San Francisco and no one stepping in to take the full-time left field job in 2012, the Phillies are now desperately in need of two corner outfielders. Add on top of that the fact that, through the last four seasons, Ruben Amaro Jr. has traded away a boatload of offensive talent, all while refusing to budge on Brown, and the pressure on the young outfielder to become the player he was projected to be as a prospect is building fast.

The Phillies really need him to come through. To that end, they gave him his first true shot in the big leagues in 2012 (in 2010 he got a short look while Shane Victorino was on the DL and again as a September call-up and in 2011 he only had a month to prove himself before the plug was pulled).

For Brown, the results were mixed. He showed flashes of being the player everyone thinks he can be, but he was also plagued by long stretches of ineffectiveness, which leave his final numbers looking very bleak. He finished with a triple slash line of .235/.316/.396, while striking out 34 times and walking 21 times. He had five home runs and 26 RBI. Even more disheartening: he not only didn’t register a stolen base, he didn’t even make an attempt.

One plus for Brown was, of his 44 hits, 18 of them were for extra bases. He did show a fair amount of power, despite the anemic triple slash. He also got on base at a high rate, as the .316 OBP to a .235 batting average indicates.

However, what needs to be remembered about these numbers at the plate  is that they came over a very small sample size (212 plate appearances). He was also riddled by poor luck, posting a .260 BABIP. With an average BABIP of .300 (the league mean over the course of an entire season), Brown would’ve hit .272. Poor luck is not something to be ignored in this case, especially because the sample size was so small. Those things tend to even out and there are signs Brown can be a better hitter than the surface numbers this season showed. In the end, his .309 wOBA wasn’t atrocious.

In the field, it was more of the same from Brown. He exhibited fantastic athleticism and an amazing throwing arm (seven outfield assists in 51 games is a ridiculous number). But he also showed an inability to routinely track fly balls, coming up with more than a few misplays.

All and all, it seems like too short a viewing to truly evaluate Brown. Alas, that is what I have been tasked to do, so evaluate I must.

GRADE: C.  This grade probably should be lower. But I’m giving Brown a pass here because of the poor luck and the small sample. I think it’s also important to remember that, even though he seems older, Brown is still a very young player (This past season was his age 24 season). Many guys don’t get it figured out on the big league level until their mid-20s, and there’s enough here to suggest Brown will also reach a higher plateau of performance as he ages. That said, time is running out for him to become the player everyone expected.

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  1. Bill

    November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I like Brown and still think that he can be a piece in the outfield for 2012. My thoughts are that he should be a platoon player with whichever right handed bat emerges. I also think the Phillies should kick the tires on Jason Bay. He won’t cost much and if he hits in Spring Training, keep him, if not, see how Darin Ruf or John Mayberry look. Bay would give them another option and more depth. They NEED to sign two other starting outfielders in addition. In my opinion, they cannot try to fill two holes with what they have in house.

  2. Ken Bland

    November 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

    C’s reasonable. Probably more than reasonable. But unlike your sway of it’s probably a little high, I go the other way, and say C is probably a little low. He continues to show good patience at the plate, and far better than a couple of his teammates, and for that reason, I would go C plus.

    I don’t know that I’d have thought the “mystery” about him would have gone this long, but by the end of 2013, the Phils should finally have a convictional idea of is he a long term keep. We’ve seen enough at bats to know he’s got the basics to succeed, but you only get so much time to execute, and as intermittent as his callups have been, he’s not gonna be terribly far from the steps to arbitration and free agency that keeps him inexpensive forever.

    • Bill

      November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Good points. Scott Boras is his agent so he will want the moon and stars for a contract. I also agree that he has good plate discipline and in addition he has good hand eye coordination. He continues to put the bat on the ball. He now needs to drive the ball more.

      C+ is right!

  3. Jaron B

    November 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I’d go higher IMO… C is a good middle ground though. Nice evaluation. What was his wRC+?

  4. Lefty

    November 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    That throwing arm is elite in my book. I hope the guy puts it all together next season.

  5. Ryan H

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Way too hyper critical of a guy who is still developing. Chase utley was older than him when brought up and was also worse. Let him grow before we trash him. He has played adequately. Enough to show that hes deserving of being in the bigs. Now let him show if he has what it takes to be a star

  6. Jeff Dowder

    November 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    He’s almost the exact same age as Justin Upton (they were born nine days apart). I think the fan frustration lies in the fact that there are a lot of players around the league who do produce at an early age, and at one point Brown was considered the Phillies’ “can’t miss” guy. There aren’t many people in the game saying that any longer.

  7. Brooks

    November 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Let me ask a question for all of those that still believe in Dominic Brown – lets say management does decide after a so-so ST that D Brown is going to be the starting CF for the Phils in 2013. When does the plug get pulled? Is there a cut off? Will there be consensus on this site say after 40 games when his average is back at .235, low SB, few RBI – or do we say 50? 60? What if we go to 100 games with a CF who’s production is definitely in the lower tier of ML outfielders?
    There has to be expectations, there has to be a ruler.
    Any thoughts?

    • hk

      November 10, 2012 at 11:27 am


      If the decision was mine, I would give Dom at least 1/2 of the season* to show what he can do and I would narrow down my assessment of his hitting production to one factor (either OPS or wOBA) rather than his BA, RBI’s and/or SB’s. In addition, I would compare his production to that of others at his same position and also to my projection for the type of production I can get from an easily obtainable replacement for him, most likely one of the bench players on the team or someone in the minor league system.

      * If his performance is extremely bad in the first 40 games of the season – well below what he has produced in the 492 plate appearances spread over 3 seasons – I would have to consider pulling the plug sooner.

    • Ken Bland

      November 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      I’m notin Dom Brown’s head, or heart, but as far as the following fan base, I believe you just nailed part of the problem if he is of any similar mindset.

      “You asked lets say management does decide after a so-so ST that D Brown is going to be the starting CF for the Phils in 2013. When does the plug get pulled? Is there a cut off?”

      Ever since the first time he was called up, the overriding question with him has been how long does he have to show he stays?

      I know life, let alone baseball is what can you do to generate revenue or satisfaction on a day by day basis, but the guy desreves to have a chance to relax and not worry about how long he’s got to prove he can play.

      Just let him play, and at some point, hell, even if he’s good, if you get an offer for a package better than what he is, or thought to be by then, consider it.

      So my answer to your question isn’t how long. My answer is I don’t think in those terms. And I believe if Dom thinks like I am, he’s better off. Just play, and don’t worry about it.

  8. George

    November 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    So what about his lack of SBs. He had leg issues nearly the entire year, and stealing bases might have made matters worse.

    I’m with Ken Bland here. Put him in a position on a regular basis (none of that shuttling back and forth from Philly to Lehigh Valley) and see what he can do. A steady job and some steady practice in that job might be just what he needs. Even a platoon position would be steadier than riding the bus so much.

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