The patience that Phillies management has had with Domonic Brown is beginning to run thin, and the organization has made him quite aware of that fact.
“His leash isn’t as long as it used to be,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in an interview before last Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers. “That’s been communicated to him.”
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Brown understands that at 27 years old, he is no longer the promising young player that was once regarded as the number one prospect in all of baseball back in 2010. He understands that he is entering his “prime” years, and that outside of a one-month stretch back in May 2013, where he blasted 12 home runs and drove in 25, he hasn’t come close to living up to his top-prospect potential.
“I agree with [Amaro] one-thousand percent,” Brown said in an interview with Phillies reporter Jim Salisbury. “If I don’t make the most of my opportunity, then he has to do his job and get me out of here, I guess. But I don’t want that. I want to be in Philly.”
If he continues to play at the same, mediocre level, he won’t be in Philly for much longer. Obviously, he knows that, too.
From the time of his return to the big leagues back on June 14th through Saturday night’s game, the 27-year-old had a slash line of .205/.267/.253 with only four extra base hits–none of them home runs.
“I didn’t hit 30 home runs and be an All-Star (in 2013) for nothing,” Brown said to Salisbury.
Actually, he hit 27 home runs in 2013, not 30, and 18 of those were shoved into a 6-week stretch from early-May into mid-June, getting him that All-Star appearance.
Still, it showed to some that Brown has the potential to be an above-average power hitter. But the fact that he hasn’t homered in 76 at-bats this season is very worrisome. The Phillies lack power in their lineup, especially in the outfield. They need Brown to be the power corner outfielder they thought he could be. Aside from that one stretch of the 2013 season, he has not been that player.
It may not be too late for him to prove his worth to the Phillies, despite their growing impatience. Manager Pete Mackanin has made it clear that the rest of this season is about getting young players quality playing time. That includes players like Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, and even Brown, to an extent.
With the All-Star Break (the unofficial halfway mark of the MLB season) now here, Brown is one May 2013-esque month away from making a serious impression on the Phillies going into the “second half” of the season, and potentially saving his Major League career.
This weekend’s series against the Giants would have been a great time to start, setting him up with confidence into that 2nd half. It began well with a 2-4 on Friday night, including an RBI, during a 12-5 loss. But then Brown followed it up by going 0-5 on Saturday and Sunday combined.
Brown should continue to play regularly despite his numbers because he’s more “the future” for the Phillies than a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder like Jeff Francouer, or even a 27-year-old singles hitter like Ben Revere. But the Phillies are rumored to be featuring each of those players in the trade market, so may want to play them more often until actually dealt.
Brown has demonstrated the physical tools as a prospect in the minor leagues, and then for a brief stretch in the major leagues as well. Now he needs to put it all together with consistency at the highest level with the Phillies. The clock is ticking for Brown, but time has not completely run out. Yet.