Two Weeks Later, No Progress for Domonic Brown
On April 5, about a week into the 2014 season, I noted that pitchers were continuing a trend started last season by throwing Domonic Brown pitches mostly low and outside. Over a handful of at-bats to that point, Brown hadn’t done much about it.
More than two weeks later, nothing has changed. Pitchers are still peppering the outside corner and Brown has been pulling a lot of weak ground balls, making him one of the Phillies’ least reliable offensive contributors thus far.
Here are a bunch of heat maps illustrating the issue:
The specific breakdown of pitches by horizontal location:
- 14.3% inside
- 25.0% middle
- 60.7% away
By vertical location:
- 3.6% up
- 53.6% middle
- 42.9% down
Brown has still been making a concerted effort to only swing at pitches he can reach:
But he’s driving nearly everything into the ground:
As a result, he has hit for almost no power whatsoever:
Brown’s 53.8 percent ground ball rate ties for the 18th-highest in the National League, and he’s been pulling nearly all of them. Teams will have to consider shifting him nearly as often as they shift Ryan Howard. His ground ball hit chart:
Brown thus far has posted an .079 isolated power, well below last season’s .222 showing. In fact, an ISO that low is Ben Revere-esque, as Revere has a career .045 ISO. In 2013, Brown was the backbone of the Phillies’ offense, but pitchers have figured out a way to approach him, and it’s been working out better than they ever could have hoped. With the first month of the regular season nearly complete, the 26-year-old Brown has to make some adjustments. Otherwise, the Phillies will simply be carrying dead weight in the lineup.