The Mulligan: Domonic Brown’s 2011 in Review

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, November 30, 2011 07:00 AM | Comments: 46
2011 Player Review, Analysis, Posts

We continue on with our 2011 Player Reviews with Domonic Brown.

This is a story of unfulfilled promise. Going into the season as the No. 4 prospect in the game, according to Baseball America, and coming off a season where he posted a .980 OPS between AA and AAA, Domonic Brown seemed poised to slide seamlessly into the right field void left by Jayson Werth.  The Phillies’ best offensive prospect since Ryan Howard, Brown looked set to do in the majors what he’d done at every level of minor league baseball: take his trebuchet launch of a swing and his howitzer throwing arm and bring those weapons to bear for no purpose other than to blast the opposition into oblivion.

Then the Domonator broke the hamate bone in his right hand on March 5, and everything seemed to go downhill from there. Brown didn’t get into the major league lineup until May 21. What’s worse, the broken hamate bone saps strength in the hand, and it usually takes a hitter months to recover his full power stroke. Brown, for his part, wasn’t particularly good, dialing in at exactly replacement level according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, combining a .322 wOBA (not awful, but not exactly stellar for a corner outfielder) with pretty dreadful outfield defense, which, after 12 seasons of Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez in left field, has apparently started to bother Phillies fans all of a sudden.

But the wheels came off in the later innings of a 4-1 loss to Oakland on June 25. Brown was thrown out to end the sixth inning when he didn’t run hard to first on a ground ball, then capped off the 0-for-4 night with the game-ending double play. Brown was booed by the fans, who turned on the onetime crown prince and painted him, overnight, as a wastrel. Brown continued to play, more or less, every day until the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence at the trade deadline. From then on, however, Brown was sent back to AAA, where he posted a .760 OPS before being recalled to the team’s expanded roster in September, where he found himself nailed to the bench, appearing twice, registering one at-bat and never playing the field. The Phillies then left Brown off their playoff roster, instead taking Ross Gload and Michael Martinez to St. Louis. Brandon Moss was chosen over Brown as a potential injury alternate, and the Phillies’ top prospect was sent home for good.

GRADE: 4.5/10 – I’m starting to get tired of arguing for more playing time for Brown, so let’s stick to what we know for now: despite the injury and the hustle ugliness that plagued him, Domonic Brown was at least marginally better than Ben Francisco or Raul Ibanez in 2011. That’s a fact, empirically proved. And because the idea of Brown rotting in AAA or on the bench for another year is unspeakably maddening, let’s focus on the positives: he’s still only 24, and he can’t possibly be any more unlucky going forward than he was in 2011. The worst is almost certainly over.

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

  • Posts: 2 andy

    Avatar of andy

    Do you think he has to fight his way onto the starting day roster or do you think he has potential to be platooned with Mayberry, if they do not sign another corner outfielder? I agree with what you say about his defense it was mind boggling and frustrating but it easier to look pass their lackluster defense since they were slow, but with brown being athletic its harder for people to look pass his defense.

    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      I think we were surprised by his atrocious defense mainly because he had been touted as one of those rare “five tool” talents.

  • Posts: 1048 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Oh, this thread should be interesting. Bring out the haters.

  • Posts: 0 John

    Not sure what is wrong with DB, but he looks nothing like he was in the minors. He looks like he is new to playing the outfield when you watch him play there. He should be fairly seasoned by now with his time in the minors. You would think he would hit better too, but that hasn’t been the case so far. He just looks uncomfortable at the major league level, but hopefully that will change quickly.

  • Posts: 0 Joe

    Let’s face facts. Be it injury or immaturity, he didn’t live up to expectations this year. You can call me a hater all you want, but he hasn’t even come close to proving he is an every-day player at the Bigs level.

    I will admit, I was a strong advocate for giving Ben Francisco a shot at every day RF before anyone else, and obviously I was wrong in that thinking. But… Brown just doesn’t do it for me. YET. He needs to get his head out of his ass and realize that in order to make it in the Show, you gotta grow up. Lack of hustle is something I don’t tolerate as a fan. It’s right up there with over-anxiousness (insert JRoll first-pitch swing % stat here). I don’t care if you’re Ablbert Pujols or Cole Hamels. If you make contact, hustle your ass until the out is called, or the ball called dead.

    So, platoon Mayberry and Brown to start the season, so long as everything stays as is. Many, many Werth supporters now say Mayberry Jr. is too far along to become an every day player. Last I checked, wasn’t Werth 27 or 28 before he went from platoon to starter status in 2008? Wait… Sorry. I keep forgetting that the majority of Werth lovers couldn’t tell you the Phillies outfield, less The Bat, before 2008.

  • Posts: 25 Josh

    Avatar of Josh

    Maddening is exactly the word I would use too when thinking about Brown is AAA next year. It is time to see what he can do on a full time basis. In his defense, last year he showed very good plate discipline for a player with his service time. We all know that is a trait that the Phillies lineup needs more of. The hitting and power should come if he keeps that up and gets more regular plate appearances. Defensively, if he improves on his fundamentals so that he can show off his natural skills, he will look like a superstar.

    Phills fans do not react well to hype that does not manifest itself right away. Give the kid time and I think we will see why he has been the one “untouchable” all these years.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Brown for c- Travis d’Arnaud …. Wonder if anyone would pull the trigger on that

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think the biggest thing with Brown next season is his personal development vs how e would help the team. The Phillies would likely be helped most by a platoon of Brown/Mayberry in LF, but Brown would obviously benefit from playing everyday .. Tough call what to do with him as I don’t think he’s earned the right to be our full time LF, I don’t think him facing only RHP is good for him in terms of developing, and I don’t know how much more he can prove in the minors….. My best guess is try let him play two months in AAA and the bring him up for good

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I am installing direct tv today. Goodbye csn Philly. Who cares anymore.
    The rich teams keep loading up. The phillies will never win. Not with Howard
    Striking out. Utley is old.

  • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Jeff is back! So now the Phillies are too rich? I love it. They dont spend enough, people complain. Now they spend TOO MUCH, people complain.

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    I think stashing Brown away in AAA for no reason this year would be kinda dumb but he could use the time to develop his defense which is pretty atrocious and shouldn’t be that bad for someone that young and athletic.

    I’m not too worried about him as a hitter yet because he did show good plate discipline last year and obviously he had the hand injury so it’s not fair to judge his power on that.

    I do worry that this thing is going to become entirely mental for him though due to the poor handling by the Phillies FO and I’m not sure how mentally tough he is.

    In any case he should get a chance to earn a spot on the roster in spring training.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I think that it is a very realistic possibility that Brown is on the bench or back in AAA next year mostly due to the fact that Mayberry outplayed him last year. If Mayberry shows up to Spring Training and out plays Brown again then there should not be a platoon, the job should go to Mayberry.

    I was not impressed by Brown this year but I am open to seeing if he can bounce back in Spring Training. If he can’t then I would have no problem with him going back to AAA.

  • Posts: 0 Dawn

    Obviiously this writer has some unfair biases of his own, clearly favoring Brown. What month was it that Brown led the MLB in RBI’s? Oh, wait, he never did. That was Ibanez. But that’s okay since with one swing of his bat and his bat alone he put several crucial w’s in our column. Dang it, hold up, that was Ibanez did. So what was it again about Brown that was bettet tgan Ibanez? How many web gems for Brown? 0. Although to give him his dues he was featured several times for sloppiness. What stands out about Brownand is the only thing that stood out for Brown is he sucked the life right out of this team. His imperious attitude when coming up to the bigs was reprehensible, his attitude when being sent back down to the minors for failure to perform was a childlike sulk. He admitted publicly that he was not hustling and needed to start – then promptly became even lazier. I know a great coach that says “you can’t teach heart.” Brown had no heart, and if it exists it was lost somewhere in that big head when he paid a little too much attention to the mist promising talk the year prior. He played with a sense of entitlement, with no drive, no hustle, no heart. Brown needs to stay in the minors, period then when, and only when, he stops his two year old temper tantrum, starts hustling day in and day out without exception, learns how to play LF withe expertise, loses the swelled head and ginds his HEART, should he be given another opportunity.

    • Posts: 0 Don M

      slight overreaction ????

      Brown does hustle, he just doesn’t play great defense (though due mostly to bad routes, not lack of effort) … and the back-and-forth between majors and minors will cloud any players’ head – not just Brown

      seems to me you’re taking too firm a stance against a 24-year-old kid

      • Posts: 0 Dawn

        No, I am not taking to firm of a stance. Brown, in his OWN words, coming from his OWN mouth admitted to his lack of hustle. The boy has no heart.

        Too firm of a stand would be saying cut the loser loose.

        I believe I just said he needs at least another year in the minors to grow up, deflate his overinflated head, and to find some hustle and heart.

        Potential? Sure. But how many thousands of players have passed through these fields over year that failed to ever recognize the potential? Ya’ll need to accept that Brown, unless he commits to turning himself around, could be one of those thousands.

      • Posts: 1048 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Dawn, does former NL MVP Jimmy Rollins lack a heart too? He’s jogged out his fair share of ground balls. More than his fair share, in fact.

        NO H8

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I like Don M’s suggestion of trading Dom Brown for Travis d’Arnaud. We will need a good catcher soon. Outfielders are easier to find. Brown may really benefit from a change of scenery.

    • Posts: 0 Don M

      That was just a question, not a suggestion. …. since Brown was untouchable at the time the trade went down

      Brown, Taylor, Drabek

      and we’d essentially keep d’Arnaud instead …

      It will be interesting to see where each player ranks in the next TOP PROSPECT list, etc

    • Posts: 0 Chris

      It would take Brown+ to get D’arnaud. Honestly the only way the Phillies are getting D’Arnaud is if he’s part of a package to acquire one of the Phillies’ star players.

      Otherwise they’d have to put together some kind of prospect package for D’Arnaud and treat him like he’s already an all star at the major league level (which he’s not). The guy hasn’t even seen AAA yet and he may be 2 years away.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Just FYI, if you’re a Phillies fan you don’t want Ruben Amaro making many deals with Alex Anthopoulos.

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    We can get more production from Mayberry than Brown at this point and I’m very happy with Pence-Victorino-Mayberry to start 2012. As the year moves forward, injuries or low performance will probably force a change, and if Brown is doing a decent job in the minors I don’t see why he shouldn’t get the call.

    That being said, Mayberry was extremely impressive last season… you can tell he has made some adjustments in his approach and it’s paying off… “Mayberry hit .306 with a .965 OPS, 12 home runs and 37 RBIs in 59 games since July 5.” Umm yea, even if you expect a considerable dropoff, he’ll still be pretty good.

    At this point, we gotta hold on to Brown –I agree with the statement “the worse is almost certainly over.” He had a very rough year and never fully adapted, but maybe the expectations were way too high for him to handle. Now that the spotlight won’t be on him 24/7 he may succeed again in the minors and carry that over to the big leagues. But if our current combo of Pence-Victorino-Mayberry is doing a solid job, keep him in the minors –I’d hate to see him riding the bench yet again, losing confidence, etc. Next time he’s up, I hope it’s for good.

  • Posts: 0 Walt M

    Domonic had excelled at every level until he got to the majors. This setback could prove either very useful (look at Cliff Lee after getting sent down) or the final nail in the coffin of a promising career.

    No one knows on how he will react. If he has a good attitude with a chip on his shoulder, this may be the push that puts him over as a solid star. If he hangs his head down and mopes, he will never reach his potential with the Phils.

  • Posts: 206 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    BTW – Scotty Pods IS going to be one half of that platoon in LF. Not a bench guy. Watch.

    Dominic Brown is a space cadet. He does have a lot of raw talent. Reminding me of Jeff Stone right now.

    1) He can’t field. But he can learn.
    2) He holds his hands to high. Its one thing to hold them high in your set up and bring them down but he keeps them high. Her will forever get busted with the high inside fastball with his hands like that.
    3) His swing is too loopy. Straw’s was loopy too but he was much quicker.

    Teach the guy how to field and fix his swing, the latter more important than the former. When his swing is fixed…FOR GOOD…then he’ll be ready. If it ever happens.

    Why should we argue what Dom Brown is or isn’t? We just don’t know yet. What I do know is that his trade value is going down by the day. It would suck if we waited him out and found out he can’t play only to lose his trade value, which was once massive, along the way.

    I would play this one close to the vest. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. d’Arnaud for Brown? Where do I sign up?

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Whoo boy.

      That whole thing is crazysauce, but I especially liked this part: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. d’Arnaud for Brown? Where do I sign up?”

      So, apparently you consider a guy who’s never played higher than AA ball more of a sure thing than a corner outfielder who’s dominated AAA and handled himself well at the major league level? Try again, sir.

  • Posts: 5398 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I’m not a hater, I’m a realist. If ever there was a ballplayer that needed to be traded to a new environment, it’s Dominic Brown. If I’m dead wrong on this guy, and he stays and plays well, I’ll be delighted. I just don’t feel that way right now, and apparently neither does the FO.

    “with pretty dreadful outfield defense, which, after 12 seasons of Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez in left field, has apparently started to bother Phillies fans all of a sudden.”

    - Give us a break Mike, I never saw either of those players look as bad as below. I’ve seen little leaguers read and catch fly balls better than this. Not a hater, just a realist.


    • Posts: 0 George

      Lefty: A person could make an all-star look bad by careful editing. A more realistic video–and you claim to be a realist–would show some of Brown’s good plays and hits. He doesn’t drop everything and he doesn’t always strike out. I’m not saying Brown doesn’t need improvement; I am saying that you’re being a bit unfair.

      • Posts: 5398 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        LOL- I didn’t make the video. But I did wonder what in the world would make Ruben make such a statement, when he said he wanted Brown to play an entire year in AAA. The statement really bothered me. At the time I just found it exceedingly curious because I didn’t think he was -that bad.

        So I looked for any information I could find. I checked the Pigs website, all his stats, and then I googled him and found the video. My jaw dropped. That was from one single game BTW, so I agree, to be fair, I should say maybe he just had a very very very bad night.

        Still, and back to the point of my post- I was telling the author that I disagreed with his assessment that ” bad defense was starting to bother Phillies fans all of a sudden”. Defense and fundamentals and running out every ball have always been the most important parts of the game to me. How could I put up with rooting for this franchise for 45 years if I didn’t find those kind of silver linings in them. Good hitters will sometimes hit, and sometimes slump. But as a coach I always preached to my players to control what is controllable in this game, fundamentals, fielding and hustle, and the rest will work itself out.

        After what I have seen of Brown and the way he has responded to the coaching in this organization, I believe that it’s time for him to get a fresh start elsewhere, it has worked miracles for many major leaguers in the past. But I’m really not a hater and not trying to misrepresent anyone. I’m sorry you took it that way George.

    • Posts: 0 George

      If that was all from one game, it IS pretty terrible.

      But once again, I don’t think it’s much different than the bad fielding mentioned by Mike, because I’ve seen some of the plays made by Ibanez and Burrell, although they weren’t in one game.

      Mike’s statement that the LF fielding has just started to bother people is not at all backed up by the comments I’ve read about Ibanez’s poor fielding in the past few years. The fielding inabilities were just magnified this past year because the team had TWO outfielders who couldn’t defend. (And Francisco wasn’t really any better, either.) Fans can reluctantly put up with a slow-footed outfielder, but will draw the line at missed chances in both right and left.

      If anything is evident, it’s that Brown simply isn’t ready. It doesn’t help that he’s been bounced around so much and crucified by impatient fans. He may simply be down on himself, and that can sometimes lead to an attitude of “why bother?” A little sympathy might help.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Lefty, I see your video and raise you this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiA2kQf6vXs

      I’m not going to get into another verbal war of attrition here, but Ibanez was THE WORST DEFENDER IN THE LEAGUE last year. Domonic Brown, errors and all, is still better, and it’s not a particularly close argument.

      (Btw, everyone’s favorite goofball Pence is fairly atrocious in the OF in his own right, but for some reason that’s deemed “quirky” and is somehow endearing.)

      • Posts: 5398 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Oh, Pence is awful, no doubt about that. There is a forum I read where one guy calls Hunter a total Spaz, I don’t like to call names, but in this case it fits pretty well !

      • Posts: 448 Ian Riccaboni

        Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

        Not only was Ibanez statistically the worst defender at any position last year, but he also likely had one of the worst defensive seasons of all time. He had absolutely no range, had a wet newspaper for an arm, and routinely turned singles into doubles and doubles into triples for mediocre baserunners. It is also worth noting that at the time of his demotion, Dom Brown also had a better or comparable triple-slash line than Ibanez.

  • Posts: 206 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    Thats brutal. Concentration problem, maybe?

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 5398 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I don’t know. Maybe it’s not his fault, maybe it’s our coaches? I’m reaching here.

      Whatever the reason, it needs to be someone else’s problem, it’s time for a fresh start elsewhere. Get what you can for him, do it quickly, next weeks meetings would be optimal.

  • Posts: 271 Jeff of Nova

    Avatar of Jeff of Nova

    Lefty I have to agree with you,

    Dom has been all potential and have just not see much of it at the big league level, get what we can.

    If we don’t stick him for a full year with LHV and if he can not learn and show his full potential with Sandberg then he is garbage

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    No way in hell we should trade Brown. I’m down on the guy, too… but after all we went through (being “untouchable” etc) we gotta hope he becomes the real deal. If the worst is behind us, it’d be irresponsible to trade him at this point.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Manny – “The worst is behind us”? Unless you can see into the future, you can’t say the worst is behind us. Additionally, just because we went through a lot of down time with him is no reason to hang on to him if we are believe that he can’t pull it together. Its like buying stock in Enron and stubbornly holding onto it until it goes to zero because you are waiting for the upside that never comes.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 1110 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      You really think that a guy who was tearing it up in the minors translates into “garbage” at the major league level? Great avg, speed, power, arm… he’s gotta be better than what we saw in 2011. How much better is the big uncertainty… but even a slight uptick would restore some of his pre-2011 value.. giving up on him NOW would be somewhat foolish.

      • Posts: 0 PhillyGal

        Yes, I think that a minor league phenom can suck in the majors. See: Billy Beane.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Brown was very disappointing, particularly in the field. There is NO difference between fielding and throwing in the majors vs the minors but he seems lost in the outfield. He just jumps the wrong way and his mind must wander. Not having a great year in your first year batting in the majors is no big deal but fielding?

    As to batting we can all see that the big swing will kill him in the majors. The pitchers will take advantage. He needs some more coaching. Look what a different stance did for Mayberry. Brown is damaged goods but perhaps he can be turned around.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Yeah, that big swing will just kill him. Any good pitcher will dispatch him with ease.

      Like, you know, AL MVP, Cy Young and pitching triple crown winner Justin Verlander.

      Or, alternatively, perhaps you’re not the expert on batting you think you are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiA2kQf6vXs

  • Posts: 0 david jones

    Moss has signed with oakland.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Well Raj said he wasnt ready yet i guess he was right. Lets see you Pro players, scouts, and pro coaches. Someone or a few people must of pass the word on to RAJ this kid isnt ready for the big show yet. He has had his taste of the Big Leagues now he knows what he has to work on. He did show pretty decent plate discipline for the most part though. That’s at least something to build on. Im kind of torn on the leave him in AAA or get him up. Before i thought it was best just to leave in the minors for another year now im not so sure. Im kind of leaning towards leaving him there at the start then call him up at one point.

  • Posts: 155 therookie300

    Avatar of therookie300

    I don’t think we should give up on him. I think a little bit of extra coaching will work wonders for him. A lot of our top prospects always seem to start breaking into the majors about this time in their careers. Some of those players turned out pretty good. There will be some at-bats for him in the first part of the season if he performs in the spring.

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    I agree with Manny in the sense that this is what most of us were thinking was the face of the Phils future. Then, we watched time and time again how he came up short. Chance after chance, the tables were set for his star to shine and he came up short.

    That being said, I want to see the Phils extend another chance for Dominics to make believers of all of us.

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