With two strikeouts and a 0-4 performance last night, Domonic Brown‘s average dropped to .214 for the 2014 season. After it appeared Brown’s 12 homerun May (2013), which propelled him to an All-Star game appearance, was him finally realizing his potential, Brown has seen a drastic regression since then.
Perhaps the most puzzling thing about Brown’s 2014 season, is that after only hitting 12 homeruns after May, Brown has been completely healthy in 2014. He’s just been consistently late on pitches, and after an April where he was at least hitting for some contact (he batted .256 after a fast start), Brown hit a depleting .146 in May. It is worth pointing out that Brown has hit .290 so far in June, but we aren’t even half way through the month.
In a lot of senses, Brown and Ben Revere have become the faces of the joke that is the 2014 Phillies. Chase Utley is playing at an All-Star level. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard might not be back at their MVP forms, but they are performing about as well as anyone could have expected them to coming into the season. Even Marlon Byrd, who was maligned by many when the Phillies signed him this past off-season, has hit 10 homeruns and driven in 38 runs. Is the old-core producing how they are paid to? Maybe not, but it’s hard to say that they have been the real problem thus far.
Without getting into Revere too much, him hitting any less than .300 (he’s currently hitting .286), when he provides no power and might be the worst fielding outfielder I’ve ever seen, isn’t good enough.
I don’t know what Revere’s future entails. Coming into this season, I anticipated that him and Brown would be positives to the future of the team. But Revere has never been an All-Star.
Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies have stuck with Dom Brown this year, largely because they believed that to be a contender, Brown had to get going. While it’s evident that the Phillies aren’t going to contend, and are going to go through quite the team and front-office turnover in the next six months, I think that they should continue to ride things out with Brown.
Brown is still only 26, and will be 27 at the end of the season. The Phillies don’t have anyone else in the organization that is under the age of 30, and has elite power potential. I mean, Darin Ruf might have that potential, but the Phillies have screwed his future by pushing him up and down between the majors and Triple-A. With Ruf’s wrist/leg injury is likely to keep him out for the remainder of June, and I’m not exactly sure if the Phillies plan on having him return to the MLB this Summer. Ruf will be 28 before the end of this season, so while he could start in right-field next year, if Byrd could move to center, he isn’t exactly coming up as a rookie.
Are the Phillies going to contend next year? No. Does Dom Brown have any trade value? No. So bringing back Brown for another season, a season where, barring a big second-half, he is unlikely to get much of anything in terms of arbitration, would be in the Phillies’ best interests. They don’t have to guarantee him a starting spot, but they would be foolish not to have him on the roster to start next season. They really don’t have much to lose by doing it, because there is still a chance after a rough 2014, that he gets his head clear this off-season, and puts things together next year again. If not, well, the Phillies are going to be a bad team anyway, so it’s not like he’s going to cost them a shot at winning a World Series.