“When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong.”
It’s the phrase uttered by the late Jerry Orbach in the classic ’80s flick, Dirty Dancing. It’s also a completely apropos statement relating to Phillies’ outfielder Domonic Brown. Thanks to a home run barrage by Brown in May, he’s made bloggers like me look plain silly.
By ‘bloggers like me’ of course I’m referring to those who have no patience for hitters younger than 25 who have yet to hit 40+ home runs in a season. (In MLB history, only one 20-year-old, one 21-year-old, five 22-year-olds, fifteen 23-year-olds, and sixteen 24-year-olds have hit 40 home runs or more in a single season.) As you can see, the odds haven’t exactly been in Dom Brown’s favor. In a February blog post titled “Ending Domonic Brown’s Tenure with the Phillies May Help Everyone,” I made statements like ‘His one saving grace: his arm’ and ‘Aside from his arm, Phillies’ fans would agree that Domonic Brown has not lived up to the hype’.
Whoops! The fact of the matter is if Domonic Brown suffered a season-ending injury tomorrow (poo-poo-poo), you could make a case for the 25-year-old as the Phillies’ most valuable offensive player thus far in 2013. He leads the team in home runs (15) and RBIs (36), and he has hit more home runs this season than in his previous three seasons combined (12). Of course that’s not a total surprise as this is the first year he’s been an everyday player. Counting only the Phillies who have attained enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title (as of games played through May 31st, Brown leads the team in isolated power (.277), secondary average (.333), extra-base hits (23), slugging percentage (.549) and on-base percentage + slugging percentage (.855).
FanGraphs, a veritable bible of baseball statistics, delves further into Domonic Brown’s hot hitting in a post titled, “It’s a Good Time to Grab Dom Brown.” The title of the post, out of context, may sound inappropriate to some of you. Allow me to explain. FanGraphs caters to those who participate in fantasy leagues. The headline is suggesting that if Domonic Brown isn’t owned by anyone in your fantasy league, now is a good time to pick him up, or grab him. I digress.
In addition to his hitting, Brown’s defense has improved as well, as evidenced by these catches against the Marlins, Diamondbacks and the Pirates. When Brown first came up from Triple-A, every ball hit in his direction was an adventure. He didn’t take very good routes on balls and seemed very unsure out there. For the most part, that’s not the case anymore. A couple of games ago against the Red Sox, he dove for a ball that looked very catchable. He was there in plenty of time but he just missed it. It happens. But if I’m looking at his body of work as a fielder, he’s definitely gotten better.
In a season where the offense was absent for long stretches earlier in the season (does that sound familiar at all?), Domonic Brown really has been a bright spot. The Phils have gone from not hitting any home runs, to relying solely on the home run for scoring. Of his 12 May home runs, eight of them were solo shots. Think how many more RBIs he could have had and how many more wins the team could have had if those solo home runs were two- or three-run home runs. Chew on that while Domonic Brown makes me eat some more crow.
Related Article: Ending Domonic Brown’s Tenure with the Phillies May Help Everyone