Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg appears to be taking a page out of the New England Patriots’ playbook when discussing the team’s former number one prospect Domonic Brown. Here is the Bellicheckian description of how things are going for Brown so far this season at Triple-A.
“He’s playing every day,” Sandberg said prior to Monday night’s contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. “He’s getting at bats. He’s hitting about .220, maybe. He continues to get games played.”
A ringing endorsement, that is not, although, it is hard to blame Sandberg and the Phillies for feeling ready to move on from the 2013 All-Star. Brown followed up that All-Star season in which he hit 27 home runs with a 2014 season in which his .349 slugging percentage ranked him 134th out of 147 players with enough at-bats to qualify for the league leaderboards.
Since Sandberg made those comments on Monday, Brown has actually raised his batting average to .275. In 154 Triple-A plate appearances this season, however, his slugging percentage remains at the low-low level of .352. That’s not exactly what you want out of a corner outfielder who slugged .494 in his best Major League season.
The Phillies’ issue with Brown stems from the fact that they believed he took his rehab assignment for granted and expected an immediate return to the Major League club when healthy. Apparently, on a roster that counts the ghosts of Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francoeur among its regulars (batting .256 and .237, respectively), Brown needed to show the Phillies’ front office more commitment to the game of baseball.
Really, though, that’s always been the rub with Domonic Brown. Brown has all of the talent in the world, but when he’s on the field, he just looks so lackluster. Maybe that’s just my far removed interpretation of his body language, but the requisite fire to be a successful Major Leaguer just does not appear to be there for Domonic Brown.
Fair or not, the “glider” label also stuck with Robinson Cano for years. That gets ignored when you are a perennial All-Star like Cano. It cannot be ignored when you are coming off a miserable season and have only one decent big league season under your belt.
It looks like the Phillies are ready to move on from Domonic Brown. He remains in the minors even as the big league club soldiers on with replacement level outfielders. Brown must really be out of favor in the City of Brotherly Love, but the Phillies are not really doing anything to help generate trade value for Brown.
While it has not reached Josh Hamilton-Arte Moreno levels of dislike, Domonic Brown is likely on his way out of Philadelphia, and the Phillies may not get much for him. Already 27, there is not much left for Brown to do for his development. At this point, it appears he is another in a long list of players who just never played up to their potential. Expect Brown to be given one more chance to prove he can be a Major Leaguer. Just not in Philadelphia.