Dom Brown Channeling 2013 Form


Back in May of 2013, Domonic Brown emerged as a National League All-Star, displaying his number one prospect potential for the Phillies. That month, the 25-year old Brown was must-see TV, hitting his way to the National League Player of the Month honors.

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He would finish the month with a .303 batting average, 12 home runs, and 25 RBIs. In the final seven games of the month, Brown homered seven times and drove in 11. It was an incredible run for Brown, and the most entertaining stretch of baseball Phillies fans had the pleasure of enjoying that season.

At that point, the Phillies were still the 5x defending NL East champs. They struggled out of the gate, falling four games below the .500 mark by May 12th. But thanks at least in part to Brown’s hot stretch, the club surged to a season-high 3 games over .500 and within 2.5 games of first place on June 1st.

The power stroke from Brown, and the accompanying Phillies rise back into their accustomed place of contention, did not last. The two are often equated with one another. Brown cooled and never got hot again. Expected to lead a new wave of Phillies to help keep the team contending as its former stars aged, instead both the player and the team floundered and sank.

Brown never found the same power stroke he did in that torrid month of May, hitting just 12 homers for the remainder of the season, none after August 14th. Brown would finish 2013 with a career-high 27 home runs and 83 RBIs en route to his first All-Star appearance, but all of that was put together thanks to one hot 6-week stretch.

Two years later, the 27-year-old had still never been able to duplicate the power and production he found in 2013. His 2014 campaign of just 10 home runs and 63 RBIs in 512 plate appearances was not exactly the encore season that Brown and the Phillies faithful were hoping to see. He hit for just a .235/.285/.349 slash line a year ago as the Phils sank to last place.

After spending the first two months of this season on the disabled list while recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, Brown finally returned to the big leagues and the Phillies’ lineup in mid-June. He did nothing to excite, showing some serious rust by hitting just .200 with zero home runs and just seven RBIs in 85 at-bats before the All-Star break.

Following the All-Star break, however, Brown has been better at the plate, and has been a big part of the Phillies’ cumulative offensive surge and winning ways since that time. In 58 at-bats since the break, Brown has posted a slash line of .328/.350/.534 and has hit three home runs and driven in 14 RBIs.

Most of that production has come in his last 12 games. Since July 26, Brown has three homers and 13 of his 14 RBIs since the break while posting an OPS of 1.019. Much as with his May 2013 surge, this increase in production has also affected the entire team, as the Phils have won 14 of 19 since returning from the break.

The recent surge is not quite as dominant as what Brown achieved in May 2013, but the former blue-chip prospect has shown flashes recently at the plate. In Thursday’s 10-8 loss to the Dodgers, Brown drove in four of the Phillies eight runs with a three-run bomb to right in the first, and an RBI single in the third; both coming off potential 2015 Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke. The final out of the game came on a laser line-drive that Adrian Gonzalez snatched out of the air to double-up Ryan Howard at first.

In 30 career at-bats at San Diego prior to last night, Brown was hitting .333 with two home runs and six RBIs. In last night’s road trip opener, he got the Phillies on the board by blasting a James Shields pitch over the Petco Park wall for his 4th homer in 9 games. Defensively, Brown showed both sides of his persona. A missed chance on a fly ball cost the team two runs, but he also gunned down a runner at the plate with his strong arm.

The Phillies have lacked consistent power from their outfielders in recent years. Their best power-hitting outfielder this season has been Jeff Francoeur, who has just 214 at-bats in a somewhat limited role. Not including Francoeur, the Phillies’ outfield has produced just 14 home runs among six players, including two who are no longer with the organization.

Outfield production has been one of the team’s weakest facets since the departure of Jayson Werth in 2010, and then both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at the 2012 trade deadline. With players like Aaron Altherr and new outfield prospect Nick Williams showing power potential in the minors, the Phillies may have some young, productive outfield bats waiting in the wings.

At 27, Dom Brown is still young enough to prove that he can be a significant contributor, even after the club’s rebuild is complete. If he continues to swing the bat at this recent pace, he could very well play into the Phillies’ future plans.

The time is now for Brown to prove, once and for all, whether he is capable of consistent production, and whether he can be considered a piece of the future. Making $2.6 million and arbitration eligible, he must continue this production in order to earn not only the Phillies trust, but their dollars.