2014 Phillies Player Preview: Domonic Brown

USA TODAY Sports

Domonic Brown had yet another disappointing, horrible year in 2013, hitting zero home runs and proving everyone right about how bad he is. Plus, he likes the Cowboys! Yuck! In conclusion, left field is Darin Ruf's job to lose.


Domonic Brown

#9 / Left Field / Philadelphia Phillies

6-5

205

L

L

Sep 03, 1987



2013

139 G, 540 PA, .272/.324/.494, .818 OPS, 135 H, 21 2B, 27 HR, 83 RBI, 0.40 BB/K, wRC+ 123, .351 wOBA, .287 BABIP

2014 Projections

Steamer: 139 G, 585 PA, .266/.330/.457, .787 OPS, wRC+ 116, 140 H, 26 2B, 22 HR, 66 RBI, 0.48 BB/K, wRC+ 116, .341 wOBA, .289 BABIP

Oliver: 143 G, 600 PA, .277/.335/.508, .843 OPS, 151 H, 30 2B, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 0.46 BB/K, wRC+ .130, .361 wOBA, .292 BABIP

Contract

Brown made $500,000 in 2013, and he'll make it again in 2014, before three years of arbitrating from 2015-17, and landing in free agency in 2018.

...

A barber shouted at me once. He buried my defenses for Domonic Brown by repeatedly barking "He's a bum! He's a bum! He's a bum!!"

Detractors love that word. It's short, it's easy to pronounce, and it can apply to any and all problems they have with a player; his swing, his stance, his hustle, his wife, his race, etc. And that was the point Dom was at with people who yell at customers while cutting their hair - they unfairly touted him the solution to all their problems, then became inconsolably furious upon him failing to be so. Dom took their feelings into account in 2013 - finally - and hit six home runs in five games like he was supposed to.

Somehow, he failed to sustain this pace and finished with only 27 home runs in 139 games (that's less than 20% of games, I mean what is this, a joke? BUM, he's a BUM I tell ya's).

Dom's success last year is well-documented, especially his scalding hot May and piping hot August, but a summer concussion and autumnal tendinitis kicked him out of the lineup for a bit. This, coupled with casual regression, eliminated an MVP campaign, but it did offer success prolonged enough to qualify for a Breakout Year.

So Breakout was the Year that, hey, maybe a regression is so inevitable, the Phillies should do something like this.

Selling high on Brown, as the team seemed prepared to do in December, was an indication that he had become one of the best younger players on the team. The Phillies didn't know they would necessarily have a productive young slugger in the middle of the lineup, which helps the team win, but doubles as a potential trade asset.

Ruben Amaro decided that they were still contenders, and could get more use out of Brown themselves than they could out of any package offered for him - including a totally nonfiction offer from Toronto that included Jose Bautista, who, according to the super reliable rumor's source, would possibly play third for the Phillies, a position for which they have several young options already.

They were curious, and that was fair. But it would have been pretty anticlimactic to see them trade away Brown, lone survivor of the Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt deals, after his first exciting Major League season since his debut in 2010. He is also among a rare breed of Phillies outfielders who has proven that he can be an outfielder in the Major Leagues.

Like any slugger presenting an immediate threat just by finding the batter's box, Brown's enemies scrambled to find a solution to the madness. By the end of the year, they were passing out manuals on him.

Dom presented a skill set that had effective and simple counter moves - None of Dom's 2013 dingers went to left field, and managers started insulating themselves from him with lefty relievers who knew not to throw inside. Likely, they will have hung onto that information for 2014, which will require patience and adjustments on Brown's part. The lack of belief in his ability to do so by analysts and fans has landed him on many lists of candidates for regression.

Dom proved what he can do last year, but that's over. A comeback for Ryan Howard may be the key to the offense's success - that and, like, 12 other things - but Dom faces the challenge of maintaining the higher bar set by himself. People will expect more from him now than .230-.240 and a .650 OPS (This spring, he is 1-for-9 with a single, no walks, and four strikeouts, a line of statistics so small and so unpleasant that I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it). Even if he should achieve success, but a lack of production from teammates like Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Ruiz, and other impact players could lead to a plummet in the standings, and the resurfacing of his name in trade rumors that may or may not be completely made up.

But hey! That's the dark world. Right now, all we know is that Dom is another year smarter, and nobody wants to continue building off his career year more than he does. The Phillies need a lot of things to go right this year, but Dom is not one of them - he needs to stay right.

Which is probably actually a little harder.

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