By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
PHILADELPHIA—When Phillies leftfielder Domonic Brown was struggling in just about every aspect the first time he came up the big league club in 2011, there was a huge sentiment among fans calling the local sports talk stations that said he was a bust.
Even though he was the best prospect in the Phillies organization and lacking in significant league experience, there were more than quite a few fans and local media folk calling for the team to cut ties with the rising young star.
Coming into the 2013 season, Brown had a grand total of a year and 78 days of service as a major league player and had never played a full 162-game season. How can somebody be a bust win just a short period of time? Can we at least wait until the guy has a full year or two before we make that kind of judgment?
So far this season, Brown is getting a chance to play on a regular basis and for all his critics out there, he’s not playing badly at all. We’re not ready to anoint him as the team’s next superstar just yet nor are we saying he’s a lock to make the National League All-Star team.
“You definitely can find your rhythm when you’re playing every day because that’s what I’m used to,” said Brown, who went 0-for-3 in the Phillies 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins. “I’m not used to coming off the bench. It’s been a blessing for Charlie to tell me I’m going to be in the lineup every day.”
But Brown is starting to show the potential that the Phillies were raving about since the team selected him in the 20th round of the 2006 draft.
In his last nine games coming into Saturday’s game against the Marlins, Brown is batting .382 with two doubles, three homeruns and eight runs batted in over his last nine games. He is currently tied for second on the team in homeruns (five) and is third on the team in runs batted in with 14. Brown has also batted .353 with runners in scoring position.
“When the season started, he was working to hold his own,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “I think right now you’re starting see that some of the at-bats he’s putting on that’s how he was doing it in the spring. He was very consistent in the spring. He showed his power, he showed his talent. We’re starting to see that and that’s good.”
During spring training, Brown batted .356 with seven home runs and 17 runs batted in. Manuel said playing on a regular basis at the major league level and being around batting coaches like Wally Joyner has helped him as well.
“I think being around the game, learning about the major leagues and learning about himself,” Manuel said. “I think he talks a lot with our coaches, he’s relaxed and feels a lot better about himself.”
Of course, the name of the game for Brown will be consistency and doing it on a regular basis. That also means doing in the field as well. Since Brown misjudged a ball that turned a routine single into a triple in the Phillies home-opener versus the Kansas City Royals, he’s done a solid job playing the outfield.
For a team that already has sluggers like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, Manuel believes that Brown has the potential to hit a lot of home runs for the Phillies.
“I think he’s capable of hitting some. How many he hits, I’d like to let him play and see how many hits,” Manuel said. “(30 home runs) is not beyond the realm of possibility.”
We’ll have a quite few games to see if that all rings true.