2015 Phillies Report Card: Domonic Brown
The Phillies officially closed the chapter on the Domonic Brown era, outrighting him off of the 40-man roster earlier this week. He cleared waivers and is expected to refuse his assignment, which would make him a free agent. For the first time since he was drafted in 2006, Brown will not be associated with the Phillies.
We had a brief glimpse at the good life, watching him mash homer after homer in May of 2013. The hot streak earned him his first and only nomination to the National League All-Star team. He finished the year with a .351 weighted on-base average and 27 home runs in 540 plate appearances. Brown, to that point, had battled a fair amount of injury-related adversity and was the odd man out in the Phillies’ outfield. 2013 was supposed to be his coming out party, his first big step in his ascension to superstardom.
Brown posted a wOBA of exactly .280 in both 2014 and ’15. The major league average for a corner outfielder was around .320. He was one of only 20 players to accrue -1.5 Wins Above Replacement or worse since the beginning of the 2014 season, per Baseball Reference.
Brown began the 2015 season on the disabled list due to an Achilles injury, then spent roughly two months at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His numbers there — .257/.307/.352 with two home runs in 228 PA — were anything but awe-inspiring, but the Phillies still gave him one final opportunity to prove himself.
Quite frankly, he blew it. Brown hit four home runs in a span of eight games between July 30 and August 7, but that was as high as his peak went. He stepped to the plate 204 times for the Phillies and hit .228/.284/.349. He hit for neither average nor power, provided precious little on the base paths, and looked anything but graceful traversing the outfield. Brown suffered a concussion on September 2 and would not return for the remainder of the season.
Once rated the #4 overall prospect in baseball by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus heading into the 2011 season, Brown will now have to attempt to keep his major league dream alive by latching onto a new team. Brown is still only 28 years old, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to see him turn things around in a new, more supportive environment with a new set of coaches. It became painfully clear, whether Brown’s fault, the Phillies’, or a combination of both, that things weren’t going to change in Philadelphia.
And that’s fine; it happens. His false start has very little to do with the Phillies’ failures since 2011. Brown became something of a whipping boy while he donned red pinstripes, but his story is a sad one. Fans should not feel particularly chipper about his ouster, and we should pull for him to right his ship before it’s too late.