While Shane Victorino is busy packing his bags for Los Angeles, the Phillies made another move on Tuesday morning as the organization looks to rebuild for 2013 -- they apparently called up Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to Matt Gelb of the Inquirer.
Brown, long considered to be the best hitting prospect in the Phillies system (he was the No. 4 prospect prior to 2011, as rated by Baseball America), has been a frequent traveler of the Northeast Extension over the last few seasons. After first being called up in 2010 to help patch up an injured outfield, he was sent back to Triple-A in August, only to be called up later in the season to see little playing time.
After being a shoe-in to be the Opening Day right fielder in 2011, he fractured his hand during Spring Training and was put on the shelf until the middle of May, when he was brought up and given some honest-to-goodness playing time. Despite the fact that he was coming into his own as a hitter, the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence, which resulted in Dom getting another trip to Lehigh Valley.
He was one of the candidates to take over left field this season, but a series of bumps and bruises suffered during spring training -- not to mention Juan Pierre's performance -- resulted in Brown once again plying his trade with the IronPigs. And despite a slow start in Allentown, he has come on as of late, and has a modest line of .286/.335/.432 with five homers in 60 games.
The prevailing logic is that Brown will be the everyday starter in left field for the Phillies, though it is possible he could also see time in center and in right. While there has been some concern over his fielding, the brass seems to think that he is making a fine transition to left field, and it appears that he is much improved on defense this year.
His real strength lies in his offensive ability, as he has a hit-for-average bat, plus good plate discipline, good speed and power. In his limited MLB time, he has a .245/.333/.391 line with five homers and 32 RBIs. It's not impressive, but considering that his first action was at age 22 and that he never really got a chance to establish himself, it's understandable that he wouldn't make a Mike Trout-esque entrance to the bigs.
Personally, I am thrilled to see that Dom is getting his (hopefully last) call to The Show. He's been one of the few shining spots in the farm system over the last few years, and it's really unfortunate that it's taken these kind of circumstances for him to get his chance. Of course, one of the fringe benefits of having a fire sale like this is that it allows the fans the opportunity to see what some of the younger players can do.
For the Phillies and for Domonic Brown, the future starts in Washington Tuesday night.