Tonight marks the Major League debut of Phillies' super-prospect right fielder Domonic Brown. It's too bad that it took a fairly serious injury to the team's starting center fielder to necessitate the call-up, but those are the breaks.
The 22 year old Florida native's emergence as an elite prospect in many ways is a vindication of the Phillies' player evaluation and talent development departments. Drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 Amateur Draft out of high school, every other organization in baseball steered away from him, despite his talent, due to a commitment to play wide receiver at the University of Miami. But Mike Arbuckle and his staff did their homework, learned that Brown wanted to play baseball, and stole him late in the draft with early-round money.
The Phillies' drafting philosophy of this decade has been described as a "lottery ticket" approach -- pick a bunch of high-upside, low polish guys and figure that the one or two that put it together will be stars, justifying the process. So far Brown has been the first of these "lottery tickets" to pay off, but with others waiting in the wings (Jiwan James, Anthony Gose, Anthony Hewitt), another jackpot is possible.
We also have to give a lot of credit to Ruben Amaro, Jr. and his staff, who did not cave during the Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay trade negotiations (at least when it came to Brown). The common perception was that Amaro had to "choose" between offering Michael Taylor or Brown in last December's Halladay deal. Taylor has struggled to a .269/.346/.400 for the A's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, although to be fair, he has been injured. Still, it looks like Amaro made the right choice.
Good Luck, Mr. Brown!