Mar 012011
Phillies RF Domonic Brown

Phillies RF Domonic Brown

By Justin Adkins:

Domonic Brown has star potential, no doubt.  He’s talented and athletic with great speed and a rocket arm.  What he can’t apparently do right now is hit.

So despite Greg Gross’ incredible intuitive leap, Brown is struggling so far this spring, and it looks like part of the problem is the batting stance change the young lefty’s been working on.

“I’m moving them around, trying to find a good neutral spot, not too high, not too low,” Brown said regarding his changing hand position. “Make sure they feel good and comfortable. The spot I had them today felt really well. Yesterday, it felt like they were too low.

“I felt like I was a left-handed Sammy Sosa, and that’s not my style.”

Brown is currently sitting at 0-12 with 8 strikeouts on the spring.  Sure, it’s way early, but this is coming off a disappointing ending to the 2010 season as well as a stint in Dominican Winter Ball where he stunk so bad (2-30 at the plate) that the team sent him home.

Brown reflected on Monday’s game against Toronto, acknowledging he needs to improve but claiming he’s not worried.

“I’m just trying to feel comfortable,” he said.  “I’m just trying to stay with the same approach. I’ve been working all winter with it. It’s the first couple days I’m seeing pitches. I know it’s going to happen. I’m not stressing about anything.”

It’s not panic time, but for a team looking to replace the offensive punch of the Bearded Phillie Hater, having the superstar-in-waiting crap the bed out of the gate is not a good sign.

On the other hand though is Ben Francisco, the right-hander that could barely get an at bat last season who was seen as nothing more than a platoon option at best.  After today’s game against Detroit, Francisco is hitting .40 (4-for-10)  for the spring, with a double, a triple, a home run, five RBIs and two walks in four games.

During the past three seasons, a playing full-time Jayson Werth averaged 29 homers and 83 RBIs with a .279 batting average and about an .890 OPS.  Very good numbers obviously, but if Francisco playing full time can go around .260 with 15-20 bombs, and 70 or so RBIs hitting behind Utley and Howard, the drop off won’t be that dramatic.  Plus it’s likely Fransisco will fall asleep less on the basepaths, nor has he ever dropped eff bombs on dads with their kids.

Yeah, he looks kind of like Steve Urkel and doesn’t rock a mountain man beard (or randomly an ugly chin caterpillar), but Francisco could still be plenty popular if he plays well.

There’s still pleny of time left down in Clearwater, but as of now it looks like the Phillies won’t be quite as lefty-heavy in the middle of that lineup as many projected (and feared).

So there’s still hope for the lanky youngster, and Brown’s positive attitude and approach should eventually lead to talent overcoming his early struggles.  Either way, he’s not letting it get him down.

“No, man, no,” he said when asked if he’s getting frustrated. “I barely ever get frustrated with anything. I know it’s a game first. But I’m ready for this thing to start rolling a little bit. I’m getting a little anxious. I’m feeling good in the box.”

I think that last sentiment is one we can all get on board with.

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