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.