He’s Here!! Wait, Can He Hit?

Posted: May 20, 2011 by joshgoldmanphl in Philly Sports

It appears as though the Phillies top prospect had a productive 24 hours.

Just yesterday, Phils GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said, “we don’t think [Domonic Brown is] ready,” when asked how soon the 6-5 lefty slugger could be called up to the Big Leagues. Was Amaro posturing? My guess is no. But when injuries start to mount (Victorino is headed to the DL), and your offense can’t score (that speaks for itself), drastic moves must be made.

Now it’s time for the 23-year-old Brown to grow up in a hurry.

In 16 minor league games this season, Brown has shown just why Baseball America has him as the fourth-rated prospect in all of baseball. He’s hitting .350 with 23 hits, four home runs and 14 RBI. His RBI-single in the 11th inning Wednesday extended his Lehigh Valley IronPigs hitting streak to 18 games, tying a franchise record. There’s no doubt the kid can play.

When it comes to facing Major League pitching, however, Brown has been more inconsistent. No shocker there. In 70 plate appearances last season for the Phillies, Brown hit just .210 with 24 strikeouts against only 13 RBI. He hit two home runs, on of which was a towering shot into the second deck in right field. But those moments were few and far between.

Two things to look for in Domonic Brown’s return to the Major League level:

1) Strikeouts. Brown struck out 34.3 percent of the time last season with the Phillies. By comparison, Ryan Howard struck out 25.3 percent last season and the Major League average is 18.5 percent. If Brown wants to get comfortable in Philadelphia, he has to learn to hit from behind in the count. He had 36 plate appearances reach an 0-1 count in 2010. He struck out in 16 of them. That’s 44 percent. That’s bad, obviously, but shows that it takes time to adjust to Major League pitching. These guys throw can throw some serious junk when they get ahead in the count.

2) Average against lefties. In 14 plate appearances against LHP last season, Brown had only one hit and struck out five times. His batting average was .077 against left handed pitchers. There are two many lefty specialists to keep that pattern up. He’ll never see a pitch against a right-hander after the sixth inning. Not an important pitch anyway.

Domonic Brown is a good young player. Whether or not he can spark a dying Phillies offense remains to be seen.

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