After being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley following the Phillies’ 4-3 loss to the Pirates Saturday evening, Domonic Brown made his return to the Phillies’ starting lineup yesterday, batting sixth and playing right field.
In his first big league game since September 28, where he went 0-4 with three strikeouts, the 27-year-old had another 0-4 performance with no walks or strikeouts.
After starting 2015 the on the disabled list with an achilles injury, Brown has spent the majority of his season in the minors. He played six games on a rehab stint for Single-A Clearwater earlier this season, but has played 52 games for Lehigh Valley since. In 210 at-bats for Triple-A, Brown had 54 hits (.257 batting average) with two home runs, 26 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
The 6’5″ Brown is only two years separated from a breakout 2013, where he hit .272 with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs in his first full season with the Phillies. He followed his 2013 campaign with a disappointing 2014 where he hit only .235 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs.
Brown joins a Phillies outfield that collectively has only nine home runs and 72 RBIs. The home run leader for the group is currently Jeff Francoeur, who has hit four in limited action. The Phillies’ outfield has been a mess this season, with Ryne Sandberg experimenting with different players in right and center field. Cody Asche has been the only consistency for Sandberg, as he has started in left field for 13 of the team’s last 14 games.
The Phillies hope that Brown can recapture is 2013 form and provide some consistent play from right field. Francoeur has been the most consistent, but he has only played in 51 games. With Brown now in the mix, the Phillies have four left-handed hitting outfielders. Sandberg will likely plug in Francoeur against left-handed starters, especially with Brown hitting only .229 in his career against lefties.
The former highly-touted prospect has a lot of doubters and a lot to prove. Besides 2013, especially May/June of 2013, Brown has been quite disappointing. At only 27 years of age, he is still a relatively young player. Now that he’s back in the majors, he will need to play well enough to prove to the Phillies and their fans that he is a worthy MLB starting outfielder, and can help the team not only this season, but down the road as well.