Philly Sports Live

Brown With Much to Prove as Camp Moves Into Full Swing

.235.  56.  25.  21.  0.

The numbers above represent Domonic Brown’s batting average, games played, runs batted in, runs scored and stolen bases in 2012. He had more strikeouts last season, 34, than walks, 21. Billed as a five tool, can’t miss prospect, Brown has struggled in parts of three seasons thus far in Major League Baseball.

There’s a good chance this 2013 spring could be his last chance to impress Phillies’ brass enough to keep him beyond this season. Numbers don’t lie, but this is about more than just numbers. It’s about making an impact on this club. Being a game changer, an igniter.

Lofty expectations fell on the kid from day one.

Unfair? Maybe.

But the fact is Brown has not been in it to win it, like the Phillies and their fans have become accustomed to from homegrown talent like Cole Hamels and Chase Utley.

Injuries have been his biggest hurdle, and it’s hard to find consistency without every day at-bats. Just ask Jim Thome.

Two years ago Brown got off to an 0-12 start in spring training, only to then be sidelined by a broken wrist.  He didn’t have a great spring in 2012 either, which landed him at triple A Lehigh Valley for more seasoning, and left a gaping hole in the Phillies outfield.

Brown has made a quick impact this spring however, going 3-7 with two home runs, three runs scored and a walk in four games. Yesterday he hit a mammoth shot over the batter’s eye in center field at Brighthouse Field. He’s been on base, making good contact, and producing runs. It’s only been four games, remember.

Brown credits his production so far to new assistant hitting coach and former big leaguer Wally Joyner. Joyner has worked with Brown on his hitting mechanics, and it’s already made the youngster more comfortable at the plate.

Comfort often can produce consistency, and consistency produces confidence.

The hard fact is, this team needs Brown.  His potential alone has been enough to keep him in the Phillies’ plans for seven seasons since drafting him. In an outfield full of questions, holes, mediocre throwing arms and lack of range, Brown could be a Godsend.

If he’s healthy. If he can find his stroke. If he can get on base enough to put his speed to good use. If he can improve his route to the ball in left field.

That’s a lot of ifs for a guy on thin ice already.

Three times can be a charm. The Phils and Domonic Brown hope that this time, the fourth is the charm.

Statistics courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com & www.CSNPhilly.com

(photo courtesy of philly.com)