No, Do Not Re-Call Dom Brown, or Dump Anyone Else to Bring Him Back


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Dom in Allentown on Saturday Night.

Dom Brown isn’t very good at baseball. I know that’s actually kind of hard to accept for some Phillies fans, but it’s necessary. Yes, Dom was once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and yes, he was on the All-Star team in 2013. Yes, he’s still kind of young. But no. Just no.

There has been some push in the Twitterverse by a few people to bring back Dom Brown. They question if “it’s part of the plan” to “punish Dom” for 2014. Well, yes, if you mean punish him for poor play. Specifically though, we could forget 2014, and consider just 2015 in the case of whether Dom Brown belongs in the Majors. Case in point:

  • Dom Brown has a .245 batting average and a .294 OBP in 200 plate appearances. He’s not hitting for high average or really walking at a spectacular rate.
  • Dom Brown has 0 home runs in 188 at-bats this season. He is slugging .309 on the season. It’s June 8th.
  • Dom Brown’s OPS is .603, 200 plate appearances and 47 games into his season. It’s June 8th.
  • We all know Dom’s nothing to watch defensively.
  • Dom is no longer a “prospect.” He’s 27. He’s been up several times. He first came up in 2010. It’s 2015. He turns 28 in September. With the exception of six weeks in 2013, he hasn’t ever played up to his potential.

So the case for Dom Brown isn’t so strong. In fact, it’s weak. Could Dom re-kindle some of the fire and start to play better? Raul Ibanez never caught fire as a ballplayer until he was about 30. It happens. It’s not likely to happen in Philadelphia, or right now though. It’s tough to make a good case for him.

So then, let’s examine an alternative case here, the case against the incumbents. Currently in Philadelphia, he could replace:

  • Ben Revere, who’s hitting .266 with 12 stolen bases so far this year. We all know about Revere’s issues, but his .659 OPS in the majors is .056 higher than Brown’s in AAA. Revere also lead the league in hits last year, and could be a guy the Phillies can trade for something (anything) at this deadline. He’s also 27, like Brown, so he’s not “old.” Doesn’t make sense to drop him for Brown.
  • Odubel Herrera hit his second major league homer this weekend, two more than Brown has in AAA. Odubel is hitting .245, which isn’t great, but is respectable for a player who probably belongs in AAA at this stage. He’s also a Rule 5 guy, so if he’s showing you anything at all, you have to keep him on the roster for all of 2015. He’s also 23 years old and playing his first ball above AA this year. Doesn’t make sense to drop him for Brown either.
  • Cody Asche has had his struggles this season, but at age 24 is playing his first outfield ball as a professional. While I’m not arguing that Cody’s been great, his willingness to go to AAA and learn a new position should get him some slack. Cody’s .608 major league OPS is also better than Dom’s .603 in AAA. Cody also played much better while he was in Lehigh Valley than Dom did. At his age, it doesn’t make sense to drop him for Brown.
  • Jeff Francoeur has been the object of some folks’ calls for a DFA. Francoeur is a 31 year old that the Phillies grabbed off the scrap heap, and he probably doesn’t have much of a future in Philadelphia, so the story goes. That may all be true, but Francoeur has held his own this year in the majors, popping out four homers, batting .258, and putting up a .715 OPS this season, none of which are great, but they are professional grade. He’s also a very decent defensive outfielder with a very strong arm. While this one may pain some fans, it doesn’t make sense to drop Francoeur for Brown either.
  • Darin Ruf is also a case that could be made. Ruf’s .223 average and .655 OPS have disappointed from a guy who is supposed to supply offense. He has hit three homers as well, which isn’t so bad in 94 at-bats, but isn’t what you want from Ruf. Ruf is 28 now, going on 29 next month, and like Brown, isn’t a prospect any more. Also, like Brown, he’s not much of a defensive outfielder. So, with all of that said, you might call it a toss-up between the two, right? Well, maybe at some point it will be, but Ruf supplies more value to the team in a bench role right now. You see, Ruf can also play first base, making him a valuable replacement late in games for defense there. He also can play games against tough lefties that Ryan Howard should not play against. Ruf can replace or give a player a day off at three different positions right now, while Dom charitably gives you the same at two spots. So, it doesn’t really make sense to drop Ruf either.

Perhaps if Dom Brown were making a positive case for himself on the baseball field, there are enough under-achievers in the Philadelphia outfield to make an argument for him to replace them. He’s not though. Perhaps if Dom were a top prospect the team needed to work out, there would be an argument to put him out there. He’s not that anymore though. Certainly on a team where a .266 hitter leads the team, there is an open door for anyone.

That door should not open for Dom Brown though. The cold, hard truth is that he’s not special anymore, the team should not put any special emphasis or effort into him now. You could make a better argument for Brian Bogusevic to come up at this point (though I’m not going to make it at this time), than you can for Dom. With young outfielders in Reading starting to play very well (or in Quinn’s case, continuing to), I don’t see any reason to act like Dom Brown has some guaranteed opportunity left in Philadelphia. Frankly, I wanted to see him non-tendered after last season, and think that looks wise for after this season. It’s time to move on from this experiment. Sure, maybe he’ll blossom somewhere else. Why do you think it will suddenly happen here though?

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