Domonic Brown Headed to Triple-A
The Phillies today promoted top prospect Domonic Brown to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Here is what Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar had to say earlier today:
Question: You always say the player will tell you when he is ready to get moved up. Why was he ready?
Answer: He’s been impressive all year. He came into Major League camp (in Spring Training) with the right attitude toward improving his skills, working hard every day, finding that consistency. Consistency is the real difference between a Double-A prospect and a successful Major League player. There are a lot of Double-A prospects that have the physical ability to play in the Major Leagues, but it’s when they become consistent with their results and their mental approach to the game. People don’t understand how hard it is to play 162 games and then the postseason at the Major League level. Those guys have to be consistent every day, and Domonic came into camp with that mindset. When we set him to Minor League camp he didn’t miss a beat. When he went to Double-A he started out great then had a couple of injury setbacks. His approach to the game was as impressive as the results.
Question: Fans hear about his talent, they see his numbers in Reading and they wonder, why can’t this guy be in the big leagues right now?
Answer: Truly, he’s an athlete that continues to refine his baseball skills every day. Even though he grew up playing the game he also grew up playing another game, and was pretty good at it. Anytime you deal with a dual sport player with Domonic’s athleticism, usually it just takes time for him to grow into the game. Just continue to grow in all areas of the game, and he has done that. He has shown no sign of leveling off. We use the word high-ceiling a lot when talking about prospects. But Domonic Brown, even though he’s putting up good numbers in Double-A, he’s just now starting to scratch the surface on his ceiling as a potential Major League player. You don’t want to rush him, but you also want to challenge him. It’s a very fine line. We’ve tried to do that with him. We’ve tried not to rush him, but challenge him and that’s why the move to Triple-A we feel like he’s going to be challenged. And yet he’s not going to be over his head and I think he’ll respond. Even though he’s 22 going on 23, this is a player that we’re going to look up at and he’s getting better at 23, 24, 25, whereas a lot of guys are about as good as they’re going to get. I think Domonic is going to continue to get better over the next two or three years. We don’t see someone, ‘We better hurry up and get him to the Major League level because he’s developed and he’s about as good as he’s going to get.’ This kid’s got a chance to get better at all phases of the game.
Question: It seems like the Phillies called up Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels at the right time, despite calls for their promotions much earlier. How much of a fine line is that?
Answer: Sometimes it pans out, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s not from a lack of effort or thought on how you move people throughout a system, especially that jump to the Major Leagues. Sometimes a jump to the Majors is dictated on needs at the Major League level. I know from my time in the Minor Leagues that sometimes you have to rush a kid that you’d like to give more time to. In other cases you hold on to them a little too long. Somebody told me a long time ago, ‘You’ve got to pick that fruit while it’s ripe.’ Sometimes it’s time to make a move and you don’t have an opening to do it. We always have the mindset to do what’s best for the player’s development and in the long run that will be what’s best for the organization. In Domonic’s case, we’ve tried to always keep in mind, ‘What’s going to make this kid the best player possible? What’s the right timing to challenge him?’ So far so good.
Question: What has surprised you about him this year? What has he improved upon?
Answer: Overall, his defensive play has improved. However, he still has some lapses defensively that is more a lack of concentration than anything. Overall, game in and game out, he’s a better defender than he was at this time last year. However, I think he still has to make improvements in that area because he’ll have a bad game. At the Major League level we’re trying to win a championship and we can’t afford that type of lapse, so I think that’s something he needs to continue to improve upon. And then he has very good hand-eye coordination. I think when he does play in the Major Leagues you’re going to see a hitter that’s capable of playing against left-handed pitching. Maybe not right off the bat, but as his career unfolds you’re not going to have a guy that platoons. You’re going to have an everyday player. He goes to the opposite field, and he has power to the opposite field, which is very good at our ballpark. I think he’ll fit at our ballpark well. A lot of good things about him, but he’s got a challenge him because he’s not a finished product. I think Triple-A is going to challenge him.