Did the Phillies Hold Back Domonic Brown?

Domonic Brown has finally got his shot with the Phillies but did they wait too long to call him up?The Phillies’ Domonic Brown is finally producing the way that people have hoped he would. So far this season he is batting .282 with a National League leading 16 homeruns and a team leading 40 RBI’s. The Philadelphia Phillies have given Brown the chance to be an everyday player and has already passed his previous regular season at bats high of 187. Brown is finally looking like a budding star but did the Phillies wait too long?

Since 2007 Brown has not batted an overall average lower than .290 in the minors when he has played in at least 77 games. Throughout the last six years leading up to this season he has been bounced around between Lehigh Valley, Clearwater, and Reading. There had been discussion before about why the Phillies would not bring him up and let him get a good number of at bats in the majors. The reasoning given to the fans was that he needed to work on his fielding.

Brown was not the first Phillies prospect that fans thought was being held back. Ryan Howard spent four years in the minors before his first appearance in a big league uniform just like Brown. Some, like myself, felt that he should have given the nod a year or two before.

The organization and everyone else paying attention could tell he was something special at the plate. In the two years leading up to 2004 Howard hit .280 with 19 home runs and .304 with 23 home runs. Even so he was only given 19 games and 39 at bats in 2004. He had 11 hits with five home runs. That same year he batted .291 with 46 home runs in the minors.

In the 88 games he played during the 2005 season, Howard hit .288 with 22 home runs. Since then Howard has not hit below 30 home runs until last season when he spent a good amount of time on the disabled list. I am not going as far as to say the fans were cheated but they certainly could have taken the chance on bringing him up a year or two earlier.

With Brown, I am not so sure they were holding him back. Certainly the lack of at bats in the majors did not make it easy for Brown to settle in at the plate when called upon. He does seem much more comfortable at the plate this season then the past three seasons but there could have been a maturity problem no one outside could see. Some young players can throw themselves off their game after a few bad at bats and need to grow in the minors even if their skills are there.

Jimmy Rollins does not seem to think that though. Rollins made his opinion about the organizations handling of Brown known. Rollins made comments about how it is difficult to motivate yourself when you keep getting sent down to the minors without a fair look up in the majors. He went on to say that he felt Brown was playing with a clearer head because he did not have to “battle the organization.” It certainly does show as Brown is the only bright light of the Phillies other than Cliff Lee at this time.

The more Brown produces this season, the more criticism Ruben Amaro and the organization will take. If he does not begin to decline a lot as the season goes on, the arrow will point to yes, the Phillies did hold back Brown. Whether they were doing it for Browns on good or not one thing is clear; Domonic Brown is here and he is ready to play.

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Matthew Regan

Matthew Regan was born and raised in Philadelphia. Naturally he grew up as a fan and has endured through all the troubles and bright spots that came along with being a Philly fan. Although he tends to have a different view than others he is always an interesting read. You can follow him on twitter at @MattRegan5