2015 Best/Worst Case: Domonic Brown


With the season fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of team the Phillies may have in 2015. This look at Domonic Brown is the fourth in the series of articles speculating on a best and worst case scenario for each player that is likely to be on the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies squad.

Today’s Player: LF #9 Domonic Brown

Dominic Brown was an all-star in 2013, but aside from that, there is little on his resume to suggest he is anything more than an average outfielder. Back in that All-Star season of 2013, Brown dominated in the month of May, hitting .303 and 12 homers. Since that month, Brown hasn’t had a single month in the last season and a half where he has hit above .300 or more than 6 home runs.

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2014 was an abysmal year for Brown. In May, the month that he so dominated just one year prior, Brown hit a terrible .146. He finished the year batting only .235 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs. Brown didn’t help himself with his fielding abilities. He is widely considered to be a below average outfielder with limited range. In 2014, Brown gave up 20 more runs than the average player, and had a -0.9 wins above replacement value.

The coming 2015 season will be pivotal for Brown. He is eligible for arbitration next winter, and this year will determine how much salary he will actually be able to command. At his current $550k price tag, the Phillies aren’t shelling out too much cash yet. Brown has shown flashes of talent, but never been able to sustain that with any consistency. He may be about to get a final full shot for a Phillies team that has the likes of Jeff Francoeur, Jordan Danks, and Odubel Herrera waiting in the wings for a starting spot.

Best Case Scenario: .295/ 32 homers/ 100 RBIs 

This would of course be the absolute best case scenario for Brown. These numbers would obviously constitute a career year for the young left fielder, would jack up his value in arbitration, and might even give the Phillies a reason to pay Brown some extra money in a long-term deal.

Sometimes you have to be patient with guys. Some guys don’t get there all the time, but he has a chance to be very good.” ~ GM Ruben Amaro Jr, on Brown

In order for this near-miraculous year to happen, Brown would have to repeat May of 2013 over the entire season. It isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility. Brown has shown that he has the ability to hit for power. While 32 home runs would be a career high for Brown, it’s only five more than his 2013 total. The 100 RBIs would be a huge milestone for Brown, but it’s still only 17 more than that 2013 total.

Brown has motivation to succeed, as I have mentioned above. The organization also has motivation to push Brown to succeed. Brown has long been considered by Ruben Amaro Jr. and the rest of the Phillies’ brass as a shining hope for the future. In November, Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he still had faith that Domonic Brown can succeed consistently.

We know he has the ability to do it,” Amaro said. “It’s just a matter of him being able to make the adjustments. Sometimes you have to be patient with guys. Some guys don’t get there all the time, but he has a chance to be very good. He has proven it.”

If the pieces fall into place for Dom Brown, if he shows himself to be an offensive producer, and he is able to hold his own in the outfield, the now 27-year old would cement himself in the left field role for years to come.

Worst Case Scenario: .210/ 6 homers/ 40 RBIs and loses starting job

Brown could also produce numbers on the opposite end of the spectrum. After appearing that he might have figured it out again last summer, when across June, July, and August he hit around .260 with 31 runs batted in, Brown cooled off in September, only hitting .231 with 5 RBI.

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It was more inconsistency, which every Phillies fan knows has been the frustrating Brown’s forte. A nightmare scenario for Brown would be if he does indeed become consistent – consistently bad. If Brown has more months like May and September of 2014, there is a good chance he loses his starting job.

Brown is a power hitter through and through. His value to the Phillies lies in his ability to produce those home run, extra-base hit, and runs batted in totals. If they all are down through the all-star break, I would not be surprised to see Brown hit the bench.

I think it’s fair to expect the 2015 Phillies to develop a “next man up” scenario. Brown needs to prove himself early if he wants to make sure he is not replaced in left field. If he wants that big pay-day, he will have to prove himself on an everyday basis. I personally do not believe that he will prove to be up to the task.