Results tagged ‘ Domonic Brown ’

Boras Talks Domonic Brown

Scott Boras is holding his annual scrum with reporters at the Winter Meetings.

He already got asked plenty of questions about Shin-Soo Choo, but I snuck in a question about Domonic Brown.

Considering the season he just had and the fact the Phillies need to get younger, is it surprising to hear Brown’s name keep coming up in trade rumors?

“Really, when you have breakout young players that teams have control over a long time, I think it’s pretty customary that teams are going to be interested in him,” Boras said. “Again, anybody with 20-plus home run power these days, we’re talking about annually, there’s like 40 of them in the league. That’s a little over one a team. So when you hit 27 home runs like Domonic did, clubs are going to pay attention and try to acquire those assets.”

Boras also was asked about the Phillies. Typically, they are in the hunt for some of the bigger names on the market, but so far they have been on the sideline.

“I think their team is in a position where they are trying to work on what’s below, but they’re trying to win now,” he said. “When you’re in that position, it’s hard to say when you look in the glass of water that it’s crystal clear. It’s a hard process. It’s a very hard process.”

That said, is it surprising to see them dangling Brown?

“I think it’s unfair to say they’re dangling him,” he said. “I think a lot of people are asking for him because he is young and he hits a lot of home runs. That’s customary. So I would expect that teams are going to ask Philadelphia about that, because they may be offering them more veteran players to help in their direction toward winning now. That’s the give and go of this. It’s like eating and brushing your teeth at the same time. You want clean teeth but then again you want to survive. So I don’t know quite how you do it.”

And what does Brown think about this?

“I think that they’ve got a direction on what they want to do, and clearly they want to win now, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “I always tell players when you’re under control of a club you just sit back and listen and I’ll let you know, but usually you’re going to end up in a good place if it happens.”

Finding a Numbers Guy

Amaro Talks Werth, Getting Old and MoreRuben Amaro Jr. grabbed the attention of Phillies fans last month when he mentioned the team planned to hire an analytics person to help with player evaluation.

Sabermetrics had not interested the Phillies in the past, but Amaro said they “owe it to ourselves to look at some other ways to evaluate.”

Amaro said recently they are getting close to hiring somebody.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting more information,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to change the way we do business, necessarily. We still plan to be a scouting and player development organization, but I think it’s important to get all the information and analyze not just what we’re doing but how other clubs are evaluating players when we talk about possible trades and other sorts of things.”

The Phillies have been working with the Commissioner’s Office during their search. Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department works closely with teams and has helped make personnel recommendations in the past. The LRD also has developed resources for baseball operations staffs, including former employees like Pirates president Frank Coonelly and a number of assistant general managers.

Asked if he looked back at recent personnel decisions and wondered if analytics would have helped steer him toward or away from particular players, Amaro said, “Not specifically, no. Again, we believe in our scouts and the things that they recommend. We’re not going to be 100 percent right all the time. But we want to be more right than wrong. We just have to do a better job of targeting the right guys.”

How much the Phillies use analytics or value the new hire’s findings remains to be seen. But there will be plenty of information to consider.

As an example, when the Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 deal in January, they mentioned he had 74 RBIs in 2012 hitting behind Tigers sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the implication being Young “produced” and would have had more RBIs had Cabrera and Fielder not taken RBI opportunities from him. But if they had examined the numbers more closely they would have discovered Young actually ranked 20th in baseball in 2012 with 415 runners on base when he came to the plate. He knocked in just 13.5 percent of those runners, which ranked 96th out of 135 qualifying players.

In other words, he had a ton of RBI opportunities in 2012, even with Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup, but did a poor job knocking them in.

That is just one small example of how numbers can help. Maybe regardless of those numbers — including Young’s low on-base percentage (21 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) and OPS (29 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) the Phillies sign Young anyway because it was a low-risk deal. Or maybe they say, “Hey, the odds are against Young helping us like we need him to help us,” and they look in a different direction.

Will they delve deeply into Roy Halladay‘s numbers this offseason? Doc’s 5.15 ERA the past two seasons ranks 161st out of 169 qualifying pitchers in baseball. Fangraphs.com found pitchers over 35 — Halladay turns 37 in May — who went on the DL for any sort of shoulder injury only averaged 59 innings the rest of their career. Halladay pitched 27 2/3 innings following right shoulder surgery in May. Do the Phillies consider those numbers and pass? Or do they believe Halladay’s reputation as a “gamer” and hard worker is enough to beat the odds?

It will be interesting to find out.

*

Random things from the past week:

  • I’ve plenty on Twitter today about Domonic Brown wearing a Cowboys jersey at yesterday’s game at the Linc. (Gasp!) I think what’s funny is absolutely nobody noticed Mike Adams standing over his right shoulder.
  • Everybody has seen the photo of Bryan Cranston wearing a Phillies jersey during an outtake of Breaking Bad. Once the photo hit Twitter word quickly spread (with plenty of Philly-based news organizations picking it up) that Cranston wore the jersey because he is a Phillies fan. Of course, a simple Google search showed Cranston is a diehard Dodgers fan. I contacted AMC publicity about the photo. Its response: “The shot was taken during the World Series of 2009 (Yankees vs. Phillies). Bryan is definitely a Dodgers fan, but I believe he was rooting for the Phillies in that series. As a gag, (while shooting ep #307 “One Minute”) he did a take with the jersey on.”
  • A report the Phillies resigned Michael Martinez is not true.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the Phillies will interview bullpen coach Reid Cornelius for their pitching coach vacancy. Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee interviews tomorrow with the Orioles.

Brown Still Hurting

Domonic BrownDomonic Brown has had one heck of a season.

Imagine what it could have been if he had not been sidelined the past few weeks with a right Achilles issue?

Brown has had just 12 plate appearances since Aug. 23, but he still entered tonight’s series finale against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park hitting .274 with 18 doubles, four triples, 27 home runs and 88 RBIs. Incredibly, despite the missed time, Brown still ranks fourth in the National League in home runs and eighth in RBIs.

He said he hopes to play before the end of the season, although he offered no timetable for his return.

Brown took batting practice Thursday afternoon, which he said would be a good test for him.

“I’m just trying to finish the season being healthy,” he said. “If I’m feeling it, if it’s bothering me, then I’m not going to play around with it. But I feel good right now. I feel like I’m close to 100 percent.”

Brown Back, Nix Nixed

nixThe Phillies planned to have Domonic Brown play two rehab games this week before activating him tomorrow night against the Cubs.

Instead, they activated him a day early.

They designated Laynce Nix for assignment to make room for him on the 25-man roster. I thought the Phillies might release Delmon Young, making room for Brown in right to keep Darin Ruf in left. But they have decided to try Ruf in right field instead, pushing Young to the bench. It should be interesting. Ruf has never played right field before and had not played much outfield before this season. But I guess the Phillies figure Ruf can be as adequate as Young, maybe even a little better? I’m not sure.

But parting ways with Nix is another negative mark on the season in regards to the front office’s player personnel evaluations. The Phillies signed Nix to a two-year, $2.5 million contract in Dec. 2011, despite the fact he had never signed a guaranteed big-league deal before. Nix followed a two-year deal to outfielder Ross Gload. (I wonder if anybody else would have offered Nix or Gload a two-year deal.) The Phillies in November then non-tendered Nate Schierholtz because they figured they already had a left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder in Nix.

Schierholtz signed with the Cubs and enters tonight hitting .268 with 23 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 43 RBIs, a .500 slugging percentage and .827 OPS in 337 plate appearances. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, his slugging percentage would rank fifth among 22 big-league rightfielders. His OPS would rank seventh.

Nix, meanwhile, hit .180 with four doubles, two homers, seven RBIs, a .258 slugging percentage and a .486 OPS in 136 plate appearances.

Now what is interesting is Schierholtz never would have put up those numbers with the Phillies because they never would have provided him enough opportunity to play. They were committed to Young in right field once he got healthy — they needed a right-handed bat in the lineup — and Charlie Manuel doesn’t make it a habit of playing his bench players unless absolutely necessary. They simply didn’t think Schiertholtz was good enough to warrant a spot on the roster, much less playing time. But the point is they missed badly on Schierholtz over Nix. Schierholtz was the much better player and they simply let him go.

This follows decisions like John Bowker over Brandon Moss, releasing Jason Grilli, believing Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. could be everyday corner outfielders, Danys Baez, Chad Qualls, Chad Durbin, not developing a utility player in the system better than Michael Martinez, etc. Now it should be noted every front office makes mistakes. Remember that Pat Gillick acquired Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins and Freddy Garcia. But too many decisions lately have landed in the minus column than the plus column. Certainly injuries to players like Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Mike Adams, etc., over the past couple years have played a role in this team’s struggles. But those personnel decisions have hurt, too.

Brown to 7-Day DL, Susdorf Is Up

Domonic Brown sounded pretty optimistic he would be back in the Phillies lineup tomorrow in Detroit.

He learned today he will not be back until next Wednesday at the earliest.

The Phillies placed Brown on the seven-day concussion disabled list, which is retroactive to yesterday. Brown suffered the concussion diving for a ball in the seventh inning in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Phillies selected the contract of Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Steven Susdorf to take his place on the 25-man roster. They also placed left-hander Jeremy Horst on the 60-day DL to make room for Susdorf there.

“I think they’re just kind of being cautious about everything,” Brown said. “A concussion is definitely nothing to play around with. I’m still kind of sensitive to the lighting. That’s really about it. I haven’t had any headaches or anything like that.”

Losing Brown could not come at a worse time with five games remaining before next Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Brown, who made his first National League All-Star team, is hitting .271 with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs this season.

Susdorf, who the Phillies selected in the 19th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, hit .335 with 13 doubles, one triple, one home run, 25 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 70 games this season for Lehigh Valley. He has hit a combined .304 with an .802 OPS in six Minor League seasons with the Phillies.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Phillies.

“I wouldn’t have it no other way, son,” Charlie Manuel said. “What the hell?”

Is he sure about that?

“Yeah, I’m sure about it,” Manuel said. “What the hell? You get slapped, then (gosh darn) you’ve got to slap back. That’s all. That’s how I look at it.”

Brown to Miss 2 Games with Concussion-Like Symptoms

Domonic BrownThe Phillies have lost Domonic Brown for at least two games, and it could not come at a worse time.

The Phillies are in desperate need of victories before the July 31 Trade Deadline, but said today he will miss at least tonight’s and tomorrow night’s games because of concussion-like symptoms. Brown slammed into the turf trying to make a catch in the seventh inning in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. He complained of dizziness after the game.

It is standard protocol for a player to take a battery of tests to determine if he has suffered a concussion. Brown took those tests today and will learn the results tomorrow, which means he cannot play at the earliest until Friday against the Tigers.

“I feel good,” Brown said. “I feel like I’m back to normal, honestly. I was just a little dizzy yesterday. That’s pretty much it. I didn’t have any headaches.”

But if the tests say he has a concussion he will need to be placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

The Phillies can hardly afford to lose Brown, who is hitting .271 with 25 home runs, 76 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 402 plate appearances this season. The Phillies started Laynce Nix in left field tonight for the first time this season. It is his first start since July 6. Nix, who has stared just 16 games this season, is hitless in 11 at-bats in July and has hit .138 since April.

Losing Brown, even if it is just two games, is a blow when the Phillies can least afford one.

“You can’t afford blows, but you’ve got to be able to take a blow though,” Charlie Manuel said. “We’re supposed to take the blows.”

*

Meant to post this during the break, but MLB Network ran its top plays of the first half and ranked Ben Revere’s ridiculous diving catch in Cincinnati as No. 5.

An Offensive Pulse

Chase Utley, Kurt SuzukiCole Hamels might be getting his mojo back, which could mean good things for the Phillies going forward. They need good pitching.

A few numbers to consider this fine Wednesday morning:

  • The Phillies have won six of their last eight games.
  • Since Atlanta started the season 12-1, it is 40-37, while the Phillies are 39-38 and the Nationals are 38-38. The Braves are practically begging somebody to challenge them in the NL East the second half of the season.
  • Since the end of May, the Phillies rank seventh in baseball averaging 4.58 runs per game. Since a loss in San Diego on June 24, they are seventh in baseball averaging 5.29 runs per game.
  • Ben Revere is hitting .346 since the end of April, which is seventh-best in baseball. He also is hitting .369 with an .871 OPS this season against lefties.
  • Following a 0-for-22 slump at the end of May, Michael Young has hit .331 with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, 15 RBIs and an .844 OPS in his last 33 games.
  • Chase Utley‘s .504 slugging percentage is his best mark since a .508 slugging percentage in 2009.
  • Delmon Young has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games. He is hitting .431 with three doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs and a 1.022 OPS in that stretch.
  • Domonic Brown cooled a bit in June, hitting .135 with two RBIs in a 10-game stretch. But in 18 games since June 19 he has hit .319 with five doubles, two triples, four homers, 15 RBIs and a .978 OPS. He is hitting .305 with an .816 OPS against lefties, and .343 with a 1.007 OPS in eight games in the cleanup spot.
  • Jimmy Rollins is not hitting for any power this season, but he has a .326 batting average and .340 on-base percentage in his last 10 games.

Looking at those numbers you could say the offense is coming alive, which is desperately needed because the pitching staff is 24th in baseball with a 4.33 ERA since June 8. The bullpen is even worse. It has a 5.21 ERA in that stretch, which is 27th. That is why Hamels’ last two starts are encouraging. If he can return to form he can put up a few zeroes, keep the young relievers in the pen and give the Phillies a better chance to win.

If these past few weeks are a sign of something real and not fool’s good then you have to think the Phillies will look to shore up its bullpen in the coming weeks. Of course, at what cost? As encouraging as the offense has been lately, I can’t imagine it would make much sense to part with a legitimate prospect to plug a hole in the bullpen … unless it is a guy the Phillies can keep beyond this season. (Joba Chamberlain? That makes ZERO sense. I mean, none.)

Brown Is Hot, But Not on Ballot

Domonic BrownDomonic Brown is one of the hottest hitters on the planet, but he is nowhere to be found among the leaders in votes for the National League All-Star team.

MLB just announced the top five players at every position, including the top 15 outfielders.

Brown is not among the top 15. I guess that isn’t a surprise. While Brown is hitting .329 with six doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS since April 23, he only truly has gotten everybody’s attention in the last 10 games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with one double, one triple, nine home runs, 17 RBIs and a 1.712 OPS in that stretch. Combine that late surge with lower attendance at Citizens Bank Park and Phillies fans not exactly excited about their team — thus they are not stuffing the ballot box like they have in the past — and Brown seems destined to the make the team as a reserve.

Chase Utley is the only Phillies player to be listed among the leaders, but he is a distant third among second basemen.

Rollins Hurting, Brown Moves Up

Jimmy RollinsCharlie Manuel has said Domonic Brown’s play will tell him when he is ready to move up in the Phillies lineup.

He moved Brown into the third spot today against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, but not because Brown’s play dictated it. Manuel said Brown, who leads the National League with 15 home runs, hit third because Jimmy Rollins could not play after fouling consecutive pitches off his right foot last night.

“His foot is sore,” Manuel said. “And if you look, gosh darn, somebody has to hit third, somebody has to hit fourth, somebody has to hit fifth. I figured because Domonic is smoking ‘em, I was going to stick him third. That’s why he’s hitting third. But I’m not saying where Domonic will hit (in the future) because he is going to tell me.”

Brown hit .303 (33-for-109) with four doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and a .991 OPS in May, although he interestingly did not walk once. He has homered seven times in the past seven games, and four in the past two.

“He’s hitting third today because it’s the best middle of the lineup we could have with Domonic, Howie (Ryan Howard) and Delmon Young hitting three, four, five,” Manuel said.

Manuel said Rollins’ foot is not fractured, but is “real sore.” He said it is day-to-day, and there is a chance he could play tomorrow.

Brown’s Crazy Good Numbers

Domonic BrownHey, did you hear?

Domonic Brown has been on fire lately.

Let’s take a look:

  • He has homered in three consecutive games, including two home runs last night against the Red Sox.
  • He has five homers in his last four games.
  • He is the first Phillies player to hit 10 or more homers in a month since Ryan Howard hit 11 in Aug. 2009.
  • He is tied for fifth in baseball with 13 home runs.
  • He is 23rd out of 170 qualifying hitters in baseball with a .519 slugging percentage.
  • He is tied for 28th with 32 RBIs. He might have more, but he lacks opportunities. He has had 121 runners on base during his plate appearances, according to Baseball Prospectus. That ranks 85th in baseball. His Others Batted In percentage (the runners on base he has knocked in) is 15.7 percent, which is 65th out of 188 players with 150 or more plate appearances. That ranks third on the team behind Chase Utley (18.9 percent) and Howard (15.8 percent).
  • Brown was hitting .206 with one double, two home runs, six RBIs and a .623 OPS in 20 games through April 23. He has hit .290 with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 26 RBIs and a .915 OPS in 32 games since. He is tied for third in baseball in homers since April 23. He is tied for seventh in RBIs. His .621 slugging percentage is 10th.
  • The only statistic that gives you pause during this run is the fact Brown has not walked since April 30. If he does not walk in the next two games he would become the first hitter in baseball history to hit nine or more home runs in a single month without a walk. Ernie Banks (Aug. 1968), Tony Armas (Aug. 1988) and Miguel Olivo (June 2009) each hit eight home runs in a month without a walk. Brown’s on-base percentage is just .298, despite the hot streak. But the Phillies will take it. They need somebody to hit with power consistently.

It seems every baseball writer that predicted Brown would hit for power this season is letting everybody know (strangely, nobody ever mentions the wildly awful predictions) so I might as well chime in. I wrote this March 29:  Domonic Brown … has looked incredible this spring. I wrote earlier how Brown’ spring training numbers could indicate a successful 2013. John Dewan said players that show a 200-point increase in their spring training slugging percentage from their career slugging percentage have performed significantly above their career marks in the upcoming season 60 percent of the time. Brown finished the spring with a .675 slugging percentage compared to a .388 career slugging percentage. That is a .287 difference, which puts him in that group. Like I wrote in my story, eight of the 12 Phillies previously on Dewan’s list ended up surpassing their career slugging percentages during the regular season. Of the four players that fell short, two were not everyday players (Eric Bruntlett in 2009 and Pete Orr in ’11) and one got injured midway through the season (Jim Thome in ’05). Maybe Brown will make Dewan 9 for 13. If the over/under on Brown’s slugging percentage is .428 (average slugging percentage for outfielders last season), I’m taking the over. 

From Elias Sports Bureau: Brown hit two home runs, while Ryan Howard and Erik Kratz each homered once in the Phillies’ 4-3 victory over Boston. It was the second time in franchise history the Phillies scored four or more runs in a one-run victory in which all of its scoring came on solo home runs. The first came Sept. 1, 1964, when the Phils opened what would become the most disappointing month in team history with a 4-3 home victory over the Houston Colt 45s. Dick Allen, Johnny Callison, Wes Covington and Frank Thomas provided the scoring in that game.

Enjoy your day.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 277 other followers