(Yong Kim/Philly Inquirer)
The wait is finally over. Domonic Brown has his confidence and this could be the year he shows the fans what he can really do.
The 24-year-old Phillies prospect did all the right things. He found a way to finally settle down, he sought help with his mechanics and he took a step back so he could evaluate the high expectations everyone has for him.
Brown said he sought help from one of the greatest hitters in the past quarter century, Gary Sheffield. But what Brown also said when talking to reporters will reassure his coaches, the fans and most importantly himself.
“I’m not at peace if I start at triple A,” Brown said Tuesday morning. “I’m coming to win a job. I’m fighting to win a job here. If I start at triple A, I start at triple A.”
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said that Brown will likely start the season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. But nothing is ever etched in stone as the G.M. has proven in the last three seasons.
In two seasons (91 games) with the Phillies, Brown is hitting .236 (58-for-246) with seven homers and 32 RBIs. Those are extremely disappointing numbers when you look at the personal value the Phillies have placed on Brown since 2009.
On the defensive side, Brown’s fielding also needs a bit of work.
Brown had a really hard time adjusting to playing left field last season with the IronPigs. The Phillies hope those defensive woes will have subsided with a year’s worth of work on his defensive mechanics.
If the Phillies didn’t have high expectations for their brightest young star, whether he was struggling or not wouldn’t be a story.
Brown is the next best Phillies home grown talent since Cole Hamels and the organization knows this.
Brown was the reason the Phillies were okay with letting Jayson Werth walk. They refused to trade him for Cliff Lee in 2009 and Roy Halladay before the 2010 season.
But it was Brown’s lack of production that also forced the Phillies to go out and trade for Hunter Pence and force Brown to have to switch from right field to left field.
Brown’s competition is going to be steep this season. John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre are all going to battle for playing time in the outfield this season. Mayberry and Nix are currently the front runners to start in left field while Pierre is hoping to just make the team.
Though all three have different goals, Brown will be in competition with all three of them.
If Brown does in fact make the Phillies roster, he is going to get a lot of playing time. They will not have him waste at-bats as a bench player. If he’s good enough to produce in the Majors, he will be a starter.
He’s here to win a job. Let’s see if he can finally do it.