Matt Gelb gives his best guess as to what the Phillies’ 25-man roster will look like heading into the NLDS. There isn’t much that should surprise you, but the absence of Domonic Brown is quite noticeable. The Phillies protected him in four blockbuster trades (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence), but he seems to have fallen out of favor with the club with his pre-season hamate bone injury and his poor performance in 209 regular season plate appearances.
Gelb suggests the Phillies will take six outfielders: the five you would expect and John Bowker. For as bad as people think Brown has been, Bowker has been worse at the Major League level. The former Giant and Pirate has a career .291 wOBA compared to Brown’s .307, and let’s not forget that Bowker has had 335 more trips to the plate. Furthermore, Brown shows better skills in the areas we know indicate legitimate skill. Brown has a great idea of the strike zone, striking out in just 16 percent of his PA and walking in 12 percent of them this year. Meanwhile, Bowker’s BB% and K% are six percent and 22 percent, respectively, for his career. Both have shown similar power, with Brown posting a .147 ISO (isolated power, or slugging percentage minus batting average) and Bowker at .152.
So, Brown would be slightly better overall, But is it worth getting flustered about? Not really. Gelb writes:
And in all honesty, this spot probably has little effect on the postseason. There are three pinch-hitters ahead of Bowker — Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco. If the Phillies need four pinch-hitters in a postseason game, they’re in trouble (or playing a long game).
It is, however, interesting how the Phillies are choosing to handle Brown. They seem to be sending out different messages about Brown than they were sending going into spring training in March.