Domonic Brown, the 23-year old outfielder who was named the fourth best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com earlier this year, is challenging the thought of beginning the year in right field with the Phillies.
Brown finished the final months of 2010 with the Phillies and hit .125 over his last 16 at-bats, which was cause for concern. Since Brown missed out on much needed at-bats riding the bench with the Phillies, it was decided that he would be sent to the Dominican Winter League to get in some of those lost at-bats.
However, Brown would have a disappointingly short stint in the Dominican League, hitting .069 over nine games before coming back to the United States early. This caused some panic, but it was announced that Brown was fatigued.
After getting the rest needed, Brown continues to struggle at the plate going 0-for-12 in the first four games of spring training for the Phillies. Yes, it is early, but also alarming is his strikeout rate. Out of those 12 plate appearances, eight of them ended with Brown striking out.
The Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. voiced his opinion on Brown late in the offseason, saying that Brown should start the 2011 season with the IronPigs. Brown's recent performances only gives Amaro Jr. more reason to have the prospect in Triple-A come April.
With capable outfielders in Ben Fransisco and Ross Gload, the Phillies should keep Brown with the IronPigs at least through July, if not the entire season, to help him develop. The Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross has been working with Brown to lower his hands, but Brown has yet to succeed in finding the perfect spot. The time in the Lehigh Valley would allow Brown to not only work on hand placement but his stride and timing as well, which have also been thrown out of whack in the past year.
Noteable 2010 IronPigs with Phillies in Spring Training
Stats through first four games of Spring Training
C Dane Sardinha - 2-for-4 with a 2B, 3RBI, SO
OF John Mayberry - 2-8, R, K
INF Brian Bocock - 0-2
RP Scott Mathieson - 1.0 IP, 2 hits, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, K, 18.00ERA
RP Michael Stutes - 2.0IP, 2 hits, 3K, 0.00ERA
RP Vance Worley - 2.0IP, 1 hit, 1BB, 0.00ERA
RP Mike Zagurski - 1 IP, 1 hit, 1K, 0.00ERA
RP Michael Schwimer - 1 IP, 4 hits, 4R, 3ER, 27.00ERA