Ten days ago, Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown entered game two of a series against the Nationals with a .256 average and 8 home runs, following a 2 for 3 night.
Not only has Brown hit 9 home runs since, with 2 multi-home run games, but he’s raised his average 35 points. He now leads his team in hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS, also leading the National League in home runs. His line:
17 HR, 42 RBI, .291/.329/.592/.921
One cause for concern is his walk total – he only has 11 walks on the season. In fact, Brown’s walk frequency has gone down during his hot stretch. In his NL player of the month May, he was not walked at all, though he hit 12 home runs. He became the first player in history to hit 9+ home runs in a month without being walked.
While a lack of walks may cause problems later, when a player is mashing baseballs like Brown is right now, it’s not a time to tell him to start taking pitches. Besides, he’s still young, and it’s something Steve Henderson will likely work on with him at some later date.
Some around the web have suggested that Brown is juicing. It’s ludicrous. Brown is 6’5″ and 200 lbs. For reference, I’m 6’3″ and about the same weight, and considered a bean pole. Care to enlighten me on how someone can be both using and a taller, skinnier guy than me?
Regardless, it’s sad that this comes up with everyone who starts hitting the long ball. It’s a reality of the modern game – such things will doubtless remain around the game as long as it is competitive. People look for a competitive edge, sometimes illegally. That’s reality.
But back to Brown. His hot streak has kept the Phillies afloat during a 5-5 stretch. Todd Zolecki points out:
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.
Zolecki points out that lower attendance and the lateness of his power surge has kept him off the list of leaders for the All-Star vote. However, he could certainly make the team as a reserve. In fact, if he keeps up this streak, Brown could be offered a chance to participate in the Home Run Derby.
Brown had not received much consistent playing time in the majors until this year. The time he has spent in the bigs this year, in addition to a shorter (yet still vicious) swing that gets to the ball quicker, has paid off. With a plethora of injuries, illness, and under-performance, Brown’s success comes at a truly needed time for the Phillies.