Brown Has to Show Consistency Throughout the Season
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—When the Phillies sent a struggling Domonic Brown back to the minors in 2011 after the big trade for Hunter Pence, the sports talk radio community as well as several local media outlets were calling on the Phillies to trade him.
I wasn’t so sure that he was a bust or the team’s next great superstar. Brown’s time with the team in 2011 and late last season just wasn’t enough time to make that assessment. I always thought the calls to jump ship on the kid were way too soon.
You have to see what a young player can do over a course of a couple of seasons before you just write somebody off. Besides, the Phillies have a history of getting rid of young guys in their farm system, i.e. Ferguson Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg, who end up doing well for other teams. Psst- those guys are Hall of Famers.
This week, the soft-spoken Brown garnered National League Player of the Week honors (May 20-26). In six games, he batted .348 with two doubles, a triple, two homeruns, seven runs batted in and had a .783 slugging percentage.
The 25-year-old left-handed slugger showed Phillies fans why he deserved such accolades with a two-home run performance in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Brown’s play really stood out last weekend in a Phillies win over the Washington Nationals when he doubled, homered and drove in two runs. In Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, he hit a solo homerun in the ninth inning.
In 27 games during the month of May leading into Thursday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox, Brown has hit 10 home runs. He currently leads the team in runs batted in with 32 and in homeruns with 13.
Brown has homered in three straight games and has hit the long-ball in four out of his last five games.
“He’s kind of doing some of the things that we’d hoped and expected of him. And he’s finally getting a chance to go out there and know that he’s in the lineup pretty much every day,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “I think that means a lot to players, and if he goes 0-for-4 he doesn’t have to really worry about it because he’s probably going to be in the lineup the next day.”
Brown said being sent back down to the minors at Lehigh Valley back 2011 was probably the best thing that happened to him because it made a better player and a better person.
“It made me a better man on and off the field going back to the minor leagues,” Brown said. “It’s good to be having some success, but I’m trying to keep it going.”
While it’s good to see that Brown is beginning to show why he was the Phillies top prospect, it is still too early to crown him as the next Phillies superstar just yet. I think we need to see if Brown can do throughout the season and not just one month of a season.
“It goes back to that consistency,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “He’s starting to be consistent in his hitting. He can get better. That’s why you have to leave him alone and just let him play. I don’t want him getting caught up in all the hoopla and people patting on the back and telling him how good he is. I want him to show how good he is. I like it when he hits.”
That’s the thing that Brown has to do over time. Anybody can have a hot month and the sun does shine on a dog’s ass every now and then. It’s still a long season.
At this point, Manuel is not going to tinker with moving him up in the lineup from about sixth to fifth and he’s definitely not moving into the fourth spot. At this point, Brown will stay where he is in the lineup and that’s cool with him.
“I’m not worried about that,” Brown said. “(Howard) and those other guys can do more things that I can. I’m just trying to do my little part, whatever that might be each night, and that’s fine as long as we’re getting ‘Ws’.”
Of course, the next thing that Brown has to face is when pitchers start making their adjustments and coming up with different ways to pitch to him. When you start coming of age and you start getting good, teams will scrutinize everything a player does down to the bone.
“He has to see what they’re trying to do and try to make adjustments to their adjustments,” said Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.
When Brown can be consistent in the face of teams pitching him differently, then you can crown him.