Long ago, there was a Phillies prospect so highly touted, Ruben Amaro wouldn’t even would trade him for an ace starter.
It didn’t seem fair, really. The initial Age of Glory had featured All-Stars at most positions; league MVPs two years running; runs, even when we didn’t need them or other teams begged us to stop. Then, we transitioned into a mythic core of pitching, weaker offensively, but able to turn one or two run outbursts into game-winning phenomena.
Hopefully, the cycle could repeat, keeping us champions, though the methods of our victory would assuredly shift. Grabbing hold of Domonic Brown and keeping him from being sucked through the vacuum of change was a sign that one day, our offense would be mighty again, and our five-tool outfielder would be in the thick of it.
This was not to be. Yet.
Dom has been injured, mishandled, overexposed, underexposed, and psyched out, to the point that the Top 10 prospect was suddenly dropping fly balls in the outfield. He came back to Clearwater this year with a mantra: “I’m coming to win a job.” The kid’s got gumption, but he’s also got Gary Sheffield showing him the ropes. Maybe, just maybe, he cane put behind him all the force-feeding and resulting chokes that got him to this point.
Welp. He’s injured again.
This time last year, it was the hamate bone in his right hand. Now, it’s a sprain thumb on the same hand. Not career-ending, sure, but he is headed for an MRI, and there’s a toll be paid from the accumulative bumps in the road this poor kid has faced.
There’s heaps of raw talent in there, somewhere. There’s also just a very precise boost, kick, or push that exists, also somewhere, that is going to jump start him in the right direction and put him back where he belongs. And until he receives, he’ll be floating in baseball limbo, writing the first few chapters of his autobiography, before his All-Star career began.
“Everything’s fine,” Dom tried to assure us.
He’s better than fine. He’s Domonic Brown.