This season is make-or-break for Domonic Brown.
Domonic Brown, the huge 6′ 5″ right fielder, has been expected to do big things for the Phillies. Not so long ago in 2010 he was the Phillies No. 1 prospect and ranked as the 4th-best prospect in the league by Baseball America. Domonic has unlimited potential, he has major power, very good speed, and a decent arm. Brown performed pretty well in the minors in 2011 hitting .245/.333/.391 with five homers, 19 RBI and 28 runs in 210 plate appearances.
The Phillies decided to call Domonic up to the majors 3 years ago. Unfortunately he has underperformed in the big leagues. In a total of 147 games, he has hit just .236 with 12 home runs and an OPS of .703. “That stuff that I’ve been doing in the big leagues, that’s not acceptable in my eyes,” he said.
Domonic’s development process is over; he does not belong in the minor leagues anymore. He is now 25 years old and with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence gone the starting spot he has been looking for is available. Dom is finally “the man” which is what he wanted all along and he needs to step up. Brown knows this is the most important year in his baseball career and he is more focused than ever. “I wake up thinking about hitting,” Brown said earlier in Spring Training.
His development looks a bit like Chase Utley’s who underperformed in the major leagues at 24, but in 2003 when Chase turned 25 he had his breakout season. If Dom were to have his breakout season I predict he would have 20-25 home runs, 70-85 RBIs, and hit for a .280 average. Domonic is perfectly capable of hitting with these type of numbers, and if he were to put up these numbers the Phillies could very well win the National League East.
Thus far in Spring Training he has performed very well. Charlie Manuel said Brown has been the surprise of the spring and that he has been the most consistent guy on the team so far. Domonic contributes his hot start to hitting coach Wally Joyner who played in the big leagues for 16 years. Joyner altered Brown’s grip by straightening his hands out allowing his wrists to cock. Joyner has high praise for Brown saying, “He’s a big boy. He looks great.” Charlie Manuel also has had praise for Domonic’s new swing saying, “His swing is more fluid and compact, It’s more explosive.”
Domonic has found his pop this spring thanks to Joyner. He has hit 3 home runs and 2 doubles in 15 games including a monster shot against the Yankees. He has also been hitting for contact well with a .400 average so far this spring.
Right now the Phillies future is uncertain. The Phillies have had a terrific core during their years of success with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins along with pitchers Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee. Everyone I just mentioned except Cole Hamels is in their mid-30s and all of their play has progressively declined. Ruben Amaro has a big decision on his hands to either rebuild or compete. All of these players have a couple of years left and the Phils could receive high-quality prospects for almost all of them. The other option is to compete for the World Series, which they are still capable of doing. This year will show Ruben whether Domonic is going to part of the Phillies hazy future.
Domonic has the potential to be a star in the big leagues. I, along with the Phillies organization, am all excited to see what Domonic Brown can do this season. He finally has the opportunity to play regularly and with nobody in front of him, this is his time to shine.