Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown was a 2013 National League All-Star representative. While it would have taken a near-MVP season to make it back to the game this season with the depth around the National League, it wasn’t unspeakable to think the 26-year-old outfielder would have made the next leap. At the age of 26, Brown should be entering his prime.
2013: .272/.324/.494, 496 AB, 65 R, 135 H, 21 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 83 RBI, 8 SB, 39 BB, 97 K, 124 OPS+, 2.1 WAR
2014: .227/.279/.329, 313 AB, 28 R, 71 H, 12 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 5 SB, 24 BB, 62 K, 70 OPS+, -1.4 WAR
What would account for Brown’s significant decline in his fifth major league season at the age when most players make a leap if a leap is to be made? It would seem easy to point to a different approach at the plate. You could even point to pitchers finally figuring out his approach. You could list the 100 or so things that every baseball expert lists in a spot like this.
When it all comes out in the wash, though? That’s when you have to ask yourself if the Phillies picked the wrong player to say, “We’re not going to trade you. You’re the future of this franchise after Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard leave us.”
In 2013, Brown played in 139 games to produce the line you see above. In his other four seasons, including 2014, he’s produced the following:
238 games played, 746 AB, 85 R, 277 H, 36 2B, 4 3B, 18 HR, 104 RBI, 10 SB, 85 BB, 155 K, -3.1 WAR
It’s not Dom Brown’s approach at the plate, fans. It’s not that pitchers have figured him out. It might be that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has chosen the wrong horse to hitch is saddle on. Last season was not a breakout year for Domonic Brown, it was an anomaly. In nearly twice as many games, Brown has produced woefully worse numbers by any statistical measure.
The concern is not that Brown went from an All-Star level to an average level. A drop of that magnitude would have been acceptable and maybe even expected. Instead, Brown went from a very productive above-average outfield to one of the worst in baseball.
There is change coming in Philadelphia whether Amaro wants to be a part of it, or not. Players will be traded and rebuilding will have to take place. When that time finally arrives, it might be time to evaluate the reasoning behind making Brown the centerpiece for the future in Philadelphia during the glory days.
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