"Sorry, coach... I could have sworn you were going 'pound'..."
Well, that’s not a bad thing…
Only Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays, and Mike Trout of the Angels ranked higher than the Phillies’ Domonic Brown on the MLB Network’s list of its “Top 50 Prospects”
Brown will get a chance to live up to the hype in the 2011 season as many think he’ll be the man to replace the recently departed Jayson Werth. Werth left for the Nationals this past offseason, accepting a seven-year, $126 million deal.
The Phillies have some insurance at right field, with Ross Gload and Ben Francisco ready to platoon with the 23-year old rookie. But it didn’t seem that the Phillies did everything they could to land a right fielder after Werth’s departure, and that makes me think that there are people within the organization that truly think that Brown has what it takes.
Brown played 35 games for the Phillies in 2010, but only hit .210 with 2 home runs and 13 RBIs. He struck out almost 40 percent of the time. It was clear that his mechanics at the plate needed work and his path to the ball when fielding was a bit off. The Phillies tried to work him a little bit in winter ball, but only lasted nine games, going 2-for-29 in that span playing in the Dominican Republic.
It left some Phillies fans pessimistic about their prospect. Matt Gelb posted this in “The Phillies Zone” on Philly.com the day after Brown was sent home:
This, of course, will set off alarms through the Phillies’ fan base. But a shaky winter notwithstanding, Brown still has a great shot of being the one to primarily replace Jayson Werth, should the outfielder sign elsewhere as expected. The last few months just haven’t gone according to plan for the Phillies and their top prospect.
I think we were all hoping for a better showing from Brown thus far. The thing about prospects is that, well, they’re prospects. Sometimes, you never know what you’re going to get. Plenty of players fall short of their projected potential, and we have to hope as fans, that Brown doesn’t park himself under that particular umbrella.
The secret that everyone knows but nobody will speak is that the organization hopes that Brown is their guy. Consider him the elephant in the room until further notice. I don’t think that realistically, anyone thinks that Ben Francisco can do the job for the Phils in the seven or eight-slot on a consistent basis. Thus, it’s Brown’s job to win. He needs to have a strong February in March in Clearwater to show his team that they were right to avoid trading him when they had the chance.
Fortunately, the Phillies have assembled a rotation that has the potential to be the best in baseball. They could serve as a band-aid for an offense that may have a nice hole in it if things don’t pan out the way the Phillies are hoping.
But let’s close with something positive, shall we? Todd Zolecki pointed out some positives about Brown, mentioning the kind of stuff to give you hope. So, here’s to hoping:
Brown hit a combined .327 with 22 doubles, four triples, 20 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .391 on-base percentage and a .589 slugging percentage in 389 at-bats last season with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He earned a spot in the All-Star Futures Game in Anaheim. A few weeks later, he earned a promotion to the big leagues, and stuck with the team the remainder of the season.
-”Top 50 Prospects” needed to be a two-hour show. I’m not sure what the MLB Network was worried about, but anyone who was watching this show was willing to watch a two or even three-hour version of this program. This is what a lot of hardcore baseball fans yearn for, especially as Spring Training approaches. 44 minutes on the air (with 16 minutes of commercials) is not enough to go over the 50 players that made this list.
- What is even worse is that the three-man panel, which included former CSN Philly anchor Matt Yallof, didn’t really say anything about Brown. Brown was ranked #4, and they barely said a thing about the guy. That’s unbelievable to me. You could argue that I’m just a homer that wanted to hear about his guy. However, there should have been at the very least, more attention paid to each of the top 10 prospects. I’m not sure how you can justify a “top 50″ show without as much as a full sentence about someone who ranks in the top 8% of that list.
- Phillies prospect Jonathan Singleton ranked #30 on the list. Singleton plays first base, but Yallof mentioned that Ryan Howard’s future in a Phillies uniform led the team to try Singleton out at left field. Not such bad idea considering that Raul Ibanez is in the final year of his contract (and, ya know, the fact that he’s 38 and all).
- Overall, the show was disappointing when in reality, it had so much potential. It needed to be longer, it needed to be more in-depth, and it needed to have a stronger panel. They have some absolute studs at that network that could have helped that presentation dramatically. Where in the hell was Harold Reynolds? How about Mitchie-poo? C’mon, give me the goods. I talked this show up all day and now I feel like a jackass.
- Let it be known that I still love the MLB Network… dearly.