Philadelphia Phillies: the Domonic Brown decision

Throughout this season there has been plenty of debate about which players the Philadelphia Phillies should part with, and which ones they should keep.  The trade deadline passed with no moves being made, which means that any big decisions will not occur until the offseason.  One decision that needs to be made, that has not been discussed, is Domonic Brown.

There has not been a faster fall from grace on the Phillies than Brown.  His tenure with the Phillies has been filled with ups and downs.  He was once the organization’s top ranked prospect, considered one of the best in the minors.  However, he also struggled with injuries from 2010-2012 while splitting time between the majors and minors.  Then, in 2013, Brown finally seemed to be becoming the player that he was projected to be.

Brown entered the season as the team’s starting left fielder, and exploded in the month of May.  He was named NL Player of the Week for the last two weeks of May, slugging 7 home runs and knocking in 13 runs during the last week.  This earned him the honor of being named NL Player of the Month, in which he batted .303/.303/.688, hit 12 home runs and drove in 25 runs.  This earned Brown a spot on the NL All-Star team, and he went on to finish the season with 27 home runs, 83 RBIs, and a .272 batting average.  It seemed that he would be one of the few bright spots and sure things on the Phillies heading into the 2014 season.

However, things could not be any different this season.  Brown has struggled throughout the season, batting only .226 with 7 homers and 53 RBIs.  On top of this, Brown has struggled in the field as well, even being booed for letting a fly ball fall in front of him against the Mets last Sunday.  This only adds to his trouble since, as once written by Ben Revere, Brown’s struggles in both areas leave no positives.  If he was struggling in one area, his success in another would allow his shortcomings to be overlooked.  This was evident last season when Brown had 5 errors, which are rarely discussed due to how successful he was at the plate.

Will Sizemore Play More in Center Field or Left Field?

Sizemore’s arrival and success complicate things for Brown.

Although the outfielder is still young, being only 26, it is time for the Phillies to decide whether or not it is time to give up on him.  As things stand now, Brown is the odd man out in the outfield.  Marlon Byrd has been one of the team’s best players, Revere is now batting over .300, and Grady Sizemore has been one of the surprise pickups that have worked out for the Phillies.  On top of this, Darin Ruf has been getting some starts in the outfield as well.  The biggest problem that Brown faces however, is himself.  He does not seem to have any fire to improve, as in interviews he seems to believe that if he keeps working at it things will just come around.

Compare this to Ryan Howard, back when he was MVP and a perennial All-Star, would often arrive in Florida before spring training in order to work on improving his weak defense.  It seems as though Brown is expecting his talent alone to carry him through his struggles and to major league success.  An attitude like that should make the team’s decision easier.

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