After a two-home run game in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 8-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, left fielder Domonic Brown has now parked seven homers in his last seven games and hit a major league-leading 12 in the just finished month of May. That’s tied for fourth-most of any player in the month of May over the last decade and puts Brown atop the National League leaderboard with 15 home runs this season.
It’s been an uneven developmental path for Brown, but what gets lost is that he’s only 25 with his best baseball still ahead.
Precociousness can have its price and at times Brown’s athletic tools and minor league production inspired considerable hype in a city of considerable passion. And, at times, less considerable patience. He didn’t produce immediately in the big leagues, as a handful of minor injuries didn’t help.
Brown, a lefthanded-swinging corner outfielder, cruised the lower levels of the minors. He later appeared to hit his stride early in 2010 -- .327/.391/.589 slash line with 20 homers in 93 games split between Double A and Triple A -- but then never made a major impact in the big leagues after a midseason promotion.
For two and a half years, he wore out the path between Triple A Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, never approaching his No. 4-prospect-in-baseball potential (as Baseball America crowned him before the 2011 season) and compiling an underwhelming .236/.315/.388 line.
Tellingly, in a recent profile of Brown by Philadelphia Daily News’ Ryan Lawrence there was the quasi-admission from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that Brown’s limited playing time after a 2010 big league promotion “maybe [was to] the detriment of his development."
At this time it’s also worth noting the one persisting weakness in Brown’s game: his plate discipline. Brown, somehow, has not walked a single time in the month of May and is the only player since at least 1916 to have a month with 10 or more home runs and zero walks, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
There’s still time for that, however. After all, Brown’s still only 25.
Fittingly, The Incredible Hulk, a.k.a actor Lou Ferrigno, visited the Phillies clubhouse recently and posed for a photo with Brown (right). Call it the mutual admiration society (via Lawrence):