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  1. Best case for Domonic Brown is he gets thrown into a trade and gets out of the Phillies organization. Trying to have an elite talent change their plate approach entirely after sustained success was foolish, and the results speak to how foolish it was. Tweaks, off-season changes here and there if he didn’t produce may have ultimately been necessary, but he hardly was in the MLB long enough deserve to have his swing and plate approach completely over-hauled after showing so much promise in the minors. Hope he gets traded and then haunts the Phillies for a decade.

    Comment by yosoyfiesta — May 16, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  2. Well, maybe he’ll become a successful general manager.

    Comment by MX — May 16, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  3. For a young guy in the MLB in 2011, I don’t think his numbers were horrendous. I was pretty shocked they gave up on him that quickly and signed Pence, but they were competing and couldn’t wait it out. But it likely had a big effect on his psyche.

    Comment by DC Nats — May 16, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  4. He and Pedro Alvarez should have a chat. Both have been impacted by teams trying to fix what wasn’t broken and by psychological stresses.

    Comment by PiratesHurdles — May 16, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  5. I don’t know the specifics about the changes they made, but is it possible that he had a hole in his swing that ML pitchers can exploit, but AAA pitchers can’t? If so, I don’t see a problem with trying to fix it.

    Comment by vivalajeter — May 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  6. It’s important to keep in mind that Brown was a raw prospect who was moving at a level per year until the Phillies started accelerating him in 2009 (A+/AA) and 2010 (AA/AAA/MLB), so he was already ahead of schedule at that point.

    He was originally called up to 2010 as a short-term fill in for Victorino, and he actually hit pretty well initially. But after Victorino returned, they decided to keep him in the majors as a pinch hitter. This is when his struggles really started (remember he had ~120 AB at AAA at this point).

    After witnessing his struggles, they decided that he needed to change his swing, and so they packed him off to winter ball to start learning. His struggles continued in winter ball, and again into Spring Training before he broke his hamate bone.

    Also, reports are that this past Winter he went to Gary Sheffield to retool his swing once again, so it seems he recognizes that this is still not squared away.

    It would be a shame if he doesn’t figure things out. He has a ton of talent.

    Comment by Jon — May 16, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  7. Sure, it’s possible. But why not give the swing that produced a sub 20% K-rate and .280 ISO in AA/AAA a chance before overhauling it?

    At the end of 2010, he had maybe 200 ABs total above AA, and half of them were as a pinch hitter in the majors.

    Comment by Jon — May 16, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  8. Thanks for article, I was wondering what happened to him. Also, “miffed” means “irritated”, not “confused.”

    Comment by Hizouse — May 16, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  9. I think Brown was just severely overhyped. The only true standout season was 2010.

    His stats for 2009 were good, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere deserving of top 10 prospect status. 2007-2008 were hardly notable.

    Is this more of a product of a genuine prospect on a very good team that had just peaked, having had just won their second recent WS, where the enthusiastic fanbase and the media jumping on the opportunity to make Brown into the second coming of Christ? It happens a lot with Yankees and Red Sox prospects (see: Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, Lars Anderson, etc). It just so happened that Brown was nearing his shot as the Phillies had emerged as the team to beat in MLB. Everyone came to expect a repeat of 2010, but those numbers were the outlier. Then everyone turned on him when he couldn’t repeat it.

    Comment by Will — May 16, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  10. E tu Fangraphs!

    He was a meager 25 point of babip away from having what I’m guessing everyone in baseball would call an acceptable rookie season.

    210 PA Babip .276 .245/.333/.391

    How would .270/.358/.416 look to these old school scouts? Just eyeballing it, his .276 babip was about 60-70 points lower than his Minor league career babip. There’s no way he’s a true talent .276 babip in the majors.

    His BB/K rates were tremendous for a rookie: 11.9 % and 16.7 %.

    In the end, classic jumping to conclusions based on small sample size. I’d have expected more from FG.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — May 16, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  11. People had been talking about that awkward swing for a while. The Phillies having him make a major change at that point in time, is really poor prospect management. Sucks to not be scouted properly by your own organization… It should have been approached when he was 18-19. At the point they were considering a change, they should have let him do his thing for a while longer to see if he could make it work.

    Comment by baty — May 16, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

  12. When I see a comment from the Manager which includes both “the game is faster up here” and “you need the fight, desire, and work ethic to adjust”……I see a pretty clear statement from the manager that he thinks the player is just playing off his talent, and not working near hard enough to be a MLBer.

    Comment by everdiso — May 16, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  13. That was my thought as well, when seeing those comments.

    Comment by Bob — May 16, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  14. Is it possible that he was overrated? It seems to me that a lot of scouts find like-players and group them. Domonic is an athletic black player in the NL East. Domonc came up with Jason Heyward. I can see his stock being elevated by association. Especially when he is in a large market organization.

    I mean really, he only had about 130 upper level games before 2011. It’s very possible he’s just not as good as he though.

    No, I don’t have empirical evidence of guys being overrated by association. I would like to do a study but it’s finals week. Just a hunch based on what I’ve read since I started trying to follow prospects 5 years ago. So don’t crucify me.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 16, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  15. I can’t believe this article doesn’t mention his low BABIP last year. Other than that, he looked terrific–11% walk rate, 17% K rate, .147 ISO…what more could you want out of a supposedly raw rookie? I honestly think he would produce if they just promoted him. The Phillies organization has already shown that it doesn’t matter how well he hits in AAA–they’re still not going to give him the opportunity. They’ve screwed up, and they need to trade him ASAP.

    Comment by R M — May 16, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  16. I don’t think its a matter of “hole-in-the-swing”. I see this term thrown around a lot, but I often think that its not the fault of a hitter. It’s not like big leaguers and AAA or AA guys have a different swing. The good players all rotate well, get the lower body moving and have a level hand path through the ball.

    The real difference is in the stuff that’s coming at them off the mound. It takes a while to adjust to pitches from a #4 AAA guy to Roy Halladay. The ball is moving like he hasn’t seen before. Its not the swing that needs fixing much of the time, its the batter’s eye and plate discipline.

    Comment by wespom9 — May 16, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  17. curious…who was his ML comp while coming through the minos?

    Comment by jcxy — May 16, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  18. Through 200 plate appearances, as a 23 year old rookie, his wOBA was marginally below average compared to all starting right fielders in the league. So yeah, it totally makes sense to demote him and retool his swing. While they were at it they should’ve had him change his batting stance and learn to swing from the other side of the plate while wearing an eye patch. Dom should form a support group with all the minor league pitchers the Orioles have ruined in recent years.

    Comment by Jimmy Wahl — May 16, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  19. It’s not fangraphs leading this discussion. The author wrote that it is being discussed around baseball by Kevin Goldstein and others. It would have been nice to point out that this might be a big hubbub about nothing, though.

    Comment by Krog — May 16, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  20. to the Cubs for Bryan Lahair if Howard sucks when he comes back?

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 16, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  21. I definitely think it was his defense that was the reason he was sent down last year, and why he started in the minors this year. Quite a few commenters have mentioned how his big league numbers were acceptable at the plate (and I thought during last season he was fine offensively), but he was bad defensively last season. Small sample size, yes, but he was on pace to rate lower in fielding on FG than Ibanez last year. That’s definitely saying something. The Phillies definitely should have stabilized him in AAA or the majors the past couple seasons, but if he can focus on improving his defense maybe he can find his way back to the bigs. Or he’ll get traded. Or he’ll never pan out. Who knows?

    Comment by DC — May 16, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  22. But we have seen plenty of examples of guys having bad swings who dominated AA and AAA based on talent alone. Alex Gordon is a good comparison. They knew they needed to completely re-work his swing but still promoted him to MLB and tried to change it there. Took him four years and great hitting coach to fix him.

    Personally, I have seen Dom Brown hit once before they tried to change him, and I was shocked that he was so highly rated. Lorenzo Cain, but left handed, just no consistency whatsoever in anything that he did with his swing. Not going to work at the MLB level. So I don’t blame the Phillies for trying to change the swing, I blame for waiting till he was at the big league club’s doorstep.

    Comment by Paul — May 16, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  23. Yeah, because a 40% strikeout rate plays well at the MLB level…

    Comment by Paul — May 16, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  24. I agree with this. What was not proffered in the article was the possibility that he just wasn’t that good in the first place.

    Comment by Paul — May 16, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  25. 1-Probably over-hyped.
    2-His K/W, even in the minors before this year, wasn’t elite.
    3-Some split issues.
    4-Coming full circle from item 1, he’s probably gone from over-hyped to under-appreciated.

    As a RS fan, it seems that every prospect is over-hyped. Then once they prove that they aren’t Pedroia or Ellsbury, they become bums. Brown had a .725, and more importantly, a 35/25 K/W. These guys don’t develop at an identical pace. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to drop a guy to the bottom of the lineup and wait fr them to develop. I’d still take a shot at him if he were available in a trade.

    Comment by Joebrady — May 16, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  26. They’re miffled.

    Comment by Wobatus — May 16, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  27. Ive been wondering on other thoughts on Dom since I recently read of his struggles with hammy issues, so thanks for the article.

    As far as fantasy purposes, is he even still worth a hold in a deep dynasty roto league?
    I don’t have any needs for his roster spot but with injuries piling I could use depth for spot starts. I’ve been holding onto him for 2 years & would hate to drop him only to have him come up or be traded and turn it around.

    Let’s say someone like Jerry Sands who is just called up, does Dom have more value than Sands?

    Comment by JimR — May 16, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  28. Brown for MIddlebrooks, who hangs up first?

    Comment by Michael the Magic — May 16, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  29. So, does it really just come down to either “being good” or “not being that good”?

    Dominic Brown is obviously good at somethings. It could be the teaching, it could be the learning, or it could be a matter of both, but players can get better or worse for lots of reasons just by being in a particular organization at a particular time.

    Comment by baty — May 16, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  30. Given the aging (and injured) Phillie Infield, how about Seattle’s Kyle Seager (on pace for a 5 WAR season and under team control through 2017) for Domonic Brown?

    Comment by bliss — May 16, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  31. baty: You used quotes without actually quoting me. I don’t think it comes down to those two extremes, and that’s not what I wrote.

    I agree with the notion, expressed by a few posters, that Dom Brown was overhyped based in part on his athleticism, which masked serious flaws in his baseball skillset. Super raw athletes do adjust, and you’re right that organization matters.

    Let’s make a comparison. Cameron Maybin looked like a raw athlete who could grow into a good player when I first saw him. Dom Brown, Lorenzo Cain, etc., look like great athletes who just don’t have baseball skills. I’m certainly not an expert, but the guy who is replacing Lorenzo Cain right now has been viewed by the scouting community as an athlete only, but what I see watching the two is that Jarrod Dyson has some good baseball skills while Cain does not. Mainly this shows up at the plate. It would not surprise me in the least, however, if Dyson has to go be a good player in another org, while Cain mediocres is up for years in KC until Bubba arrives.

    The Phillies either believe Dom Brown and can eventually be a Cameron Maybin, or they don’t. Either way they should turn him loose, because he clearly doesn’t trust the organization with his future. That they haven’t yet indicates either that they really do believe in him, or that front offices don’t think that highly of him and Goldstein, et al. have a lot of low level scouting contacts who can’t do much more than make the obvious observation that he is athletic for a baseball player.

    Comment by Paul — May 16, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  32. Brown’s ISO was over .280 for just over 60 games. That’s not at all indicative of his ability, especially when his career in the minors at that point (2010) was well below .150, and from then on it’s remained around .150.

    This is just another example of people taking a small sample size (the best SSS of his career) and expecting Brown to replicate it from then on (including in the majors). Brown just wasn’t that good, and when he didn’t match those 2010 AA stats in the majors, the Phillies jumped ship and started screwing with his mechanics. It wasn’t the mechanics, it was that he was never a .280 ISO-type player, but much closer to that .150 ISO batter that he always was. Pitchers found him out, and when his defense turned out to be below average, all of a sudden he wasn’t so attractive anymore.

    Comment by Will — May 16, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

  33. 2012 Dom Brown won’t bring back LaHair…he might (might!) get a 2nd tier reliever at this point.

    Comment by Ralph — May 16, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  34. Three years is not a small sample. His slash lines:

    2008: .291 / .382 / .417 (516 PA)
    2009: .299 / .377 / .504 (454 PA)
    2010: .327 .391 / .589 (389 PA)

    This is not a case of “He was never that good.”

    He never had contact problems in the minors. Very good BB/K at every level, and ISO increasing every year. All his struggles began after they tried to change his swing.

    Comment by Jon — May 16, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  35. Sorry, they weren’t meant to specifically quote you… It was just an “open to interpretation response” to a generalization.

    I do agree… when it comes to the toughness of dealing with super athletes and raw baseball skill. I’ve always had issues with the super hype they receive. The reasons behind one succeeding and another failing is really hard to understand. I do think that Brown was mishandled, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was Philly’s fault. He just needed management that was more cognizant, persuasive, and/or deliberate in regard to his weaknesses as he tore apart mediocre pitching as a teenager.

    Comment by baty — May 17, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  36. Unless Theo and Co believe they can bring him to his high ceiling potential. He’s still young enough, still a great athlete. Plus the Cubs have a decent but not great stable of young players. Adding Brown to Jackson, Castro, and Rizzo would be pretty sweet for them.

    I wasn’t sure LaHair would bring Brown honestly. LaHair seems to be generally accepted as a guy playing out of his mind who is a solid player with a limited window. To me that fits the Phillies perfectly and Brown, at least if they still believe in him, fits the Cubs well.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 17, 2012 @ 3:30 am

  37. Depending on how much you trust average joe posters on a website I personally frequent often. You get Ryan Braun, Johnny Damon with Beltran upside offensively, and JD Drew. Personally I like the Drew comparison. Natural athlete, forever a letdown if he doesn’t put up huge numbers.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 17, 2012 @ 3:33 am

  38. here’s the link I meant to post in the last one. 2

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 17, 2012 @ 3:34 am

  39. Ellis burks here. Just google search “Domonic Brown scouting report 2010″

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 17, 2012 @ 3:38 am

  40. As a RS fan, I wouldn’t hang up. The first concern was whether or not Brown was a legit RF. We have CC in LF for the next 15 years, so Brown plays RF or not at all.

    I know that Brooksie is the newest flavor of the month, but I can’t bring myself to believe that he can be successful with his K/W ratios. Add to that the fact that we have two other 3B prospects, and I’d have to listen.

    I’d also listen if you asked for Youk and we picked up half his salary in exchange for Brown. Dont’ knw what we’ll do with another lefty OF, but why worry about that now.

    Comment by Joebrady — May 17, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  41. I think that’s right that it’s terribly difficult to project athletes. Another example: Xavier Avery. Saw a few ABs of him last night and thought he was very, very advanced at the plate. He was tagged even more with the “athlete” tag than Anthony Gose, but I would bet that Avery will stick. So either his baseball skills were overlooked at the time, or he just has incredible aptitude. I think this is a really fascinating question, do some guys have their skills overlooked because they are such athletic, multi-sport guys like Avery? Or do some raw, athletic guys just have the “it” to translate their athleticism to any sport?

    Comment by Paul — May 17, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  42. Some advice in a keeper league please. I have dom brown sitting on my bench, in a 20 team h2h keeper league. Do you guy’s think hes worth the stash? Or SHould i try and trade him or cut him lose?

    Comment by Chris — May 17, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  43. Jared Mitchell is another interesting case. People are already whispering about his resurgence, but he’s been consistently carrying a 30% K rate and holds onto some sporadic and at times very high BABIP numbers. His last 13 games he’s been striking out 47% of the time. He’s inexperienced for his age, and he’s all over the place, but that won’t keep scouts from fixating towards the ceiling that is more parallel to his his athleticism.

    Comment by baty — May 17, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  44. Hell no. The Mariners aren’t giving up Seager. No reason for it.

    Comment by JamesDaBear — May 17, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  45. Nice! I was about to say something about this, but you beat me to the grammar nitpicking punch!

    Comment by Big Jgke — May 18, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  46. Am I the only person in the world who thinks Dom Brown absolutely stinks? Please someone else help me…he fucking sucks! Wow that feels good…he still sucks!

    Comment by Big dog — April 23, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

  47. what about dom brown now

    Comment by Jeff — January 28, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

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