There is No Need for the Phillies’ Domonic Brown to Be Ready in 2011

Posted by Frank Klose



The time has come to tell Domonic Brown that he will start the season at AAA Lehigh Valley.   However, this is not a move that should come out of panic because Brown has started the Grapefruit League season 0 for 12.  There has been some early panic among some Phillies fans, and others making fun of the panic of Phillies fans.

Telling Brown that he will begin the season at AAA is a move that should come out of the realization that the Phillies do not need Brown on their Major League Roster right now.  The result of this open competition is that Brown is just pressing, not the best use of his development time, as Charlie Manuel is quoted as saying in Ryan Lawrence's blog:

"I think he wants to make our team, but at the same time I mean he's still in the development stage," Manuel said. "I think right now he's trying hard and it's how he thinks. He needs to relax and let things happen, and they will. Once of these days he'll walk in and get a couple of hits. He's got a good chance of being all right."

Brown is best-served in AAA for 2011.  Let's face it, 2011 is a win-now year  for the Phillies, for a team stocked with talent and expected to contend for a World Series title.  There are a few factors to consider here:

First, Brown would not be any more than a #7 hitter.  The lineup will not function or not function based on how the seventh hitter in the lineup will perform.  Any hitter who would be in his space can hit .270 and drive in a run or two.   This is not a key cog in the lineup.

Second, Brown is left-handed.  The Phillies' lineup is very left-heavy for 2011.  Chances are, Brown would end up sitting a lot against left-handed pitchers anyway, since so much is on the line for the 2011 Phillies.  Brown would be better served playing every game at AAA Lehigh Valley and facing pitching from both sides, to help prepare him for 2012.

Third, the Phillies' outfield does not need to count on Brown until the 2012 season, when Raul Ibañez departs as a free agent.  In the meanwhile, if Ben Francisco or another right-handed hitter can establish himself in 2011, the Phillies will have one less outfielder to worry about.  Should Francisco get the first attempt to start in right field and succeeds, the Phillies will have Brown, Victorino, and Francisco for 2012.  If Francisco fails, the Phillies can then decide whether or not to pursue an additional outfielder in the offseason.

This is not to argue that Domonic Brown has "flamed out", is "no longer a prospect", or any other such nonsense.  There is nothing further but the truth.  However, right now I would let Brown spend the entire spring with the big-league club, learning as much as he can from the major league coaches, getting advice from major league players, and facing as much major league pitching as possible.

So, rule out Brown from the open competition, let him relax as Manuel said, learn and soak in the Florida sun and all the major league camp has to offer, and we'll see him shortly down the road.

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