Pitchers Changing Their Approach to Domonic Brown

In January, I wrote an article about how pitchers had altered their approach to Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown in the second half of last season. After Brown had a ridiculous month of May in which he hit 12 home runs and a productive June in which he hit six homers and drew 12 walks, opposing pitchers began throwing him more stuff low and away not unlike what happened to first baseman Ryan Howard.

The trend has continued in the early going as evidenced by these heat maps:

The specific breakdown:

  • 12.3% inside (24.9% in 2013)
  • 24.6% middle (21.6%)
  • 63.2% away (53.5%)

Before Friday’s game against the Cubs, in which he went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, Brown had only logged two singles and no walks in 10 trips to the plate.

The Cubs specifically stayed low and away from Brown:

Brown adjusted, taking all three hits to the opposite field:

If Brown proves he can handle pitches low and away, then pitchers will have to be more willing to challenge him inside and over the plate, where he did tremendous amounts of damage last season:

If Brown can’t prove that he can handle those low and away pitches, then he will suffer a similar fate as Howard, with teams shifting him heavily and consistently pitching him away, which may make his ceiling much lower than many anticipated. But Brown has shown in the past that he has a great ability to work the strike zone, which should give him a better chance of pushing the odds in his favor.

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4 comments

  1. mark66

    April 05, 2014 06:50 PM

    Why is Howard limping while running the bases ?? Is he hurt again ??

  2. Tim

    April 05, 2014 07:29 PM

    Brown took a low and away pitch the other way for an RBI single, today. He seems like has an answer for it but lacks the ability to drive it the other way. Hopefully he progresses…only 26.

  3. theadjustmentbureau

    April 06, 2014 03:20 AM

    If you go back to Dom’s 1st looks in the show….pretty sure you will find that that’s how pitchers originally attacked him – outside. He showed good patience and an ability to go the other way, then they adjusted to coming inside to take advantage of his high hands. Dom dropped his hands and started crushing inside….now it’s come back around.

  4. Carmine Spellane

    April 07, 2014 09:08 AM

    I have always liked Dom’s approach at the plate. He is light years ahead of some of the veterans on this team in the quality of his ABs.
    And to answer mark66’s question, Howard is an unathletic, injury-waiting-to-happen. It pains me to say that because of his past contributions and what he has meant to the team, but his body build is typical of former players who had good years in the 20s and then sank like a stone in their 30s. Was it on this site that he was compared to Richie Sexson, Mo Vaughn and Cecil Cooper? If the Phillies had a sabermetrics advisor years ago (or even someone with a sense of history), they would not have signed him to such a long term contract, nor would they have paid Rollins for his declining years.

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