All the offseason buzz around the Philadelphia Phillies seemed to be around Darin Ruf.
But Ruf is hitting .205 this spring and pretty clearly cannot play left field at a major league level. So that's the last you'll hear about him in this article.
Instead, the biggest focus here has to be on the Phillies' Forgotten Man, the ultimate post-hype sleeper.
Domonic Brown's production so far this spring has the Phillies believing that the "answer" they have been looking for in the outfield has been right there all along.
Assuming Brown makes the major league club and sticks all season, Brown will make $490,000 in 2013. That is the Major League Baseball minimum salary.
Early returns, though, are exceptionally encouraging.
Thus far at Clearwater, Brown leads the team in hits and runs scored. He is also tied with a resurgent Ryan Howard for the team lead in home runs.
This is an abrupt about-face for a player with Brown's spotty statistics to this point in his career.
Domonic Brown has been wearing the "prospect" label now for what seems like half a decade. He is 25 years old. He only played 56 games for the Phillies last season.
But for Brown's prior status as an up-and-coming player, his .236 lifetime batting average in 147 games would probably have earned his release.
To his credit, though, Brown's 2013 spring training indicates that he is serious about not just making the team, but (per the Philadelphia Inquirer) earning a starting job and keeping it.
The other two big return-on-investment guys are new faces in Philadelphia.
Ben Revere was brought in to man center field after the departure of Shane Victorino last August.
The Phillies gave up Vance Worley and highly regarded pitching prospect Trevor May to pry Revere from the Minnesota Twins.
Charlie Manuel needs to figure out what to do with a player like Revere—74 career stolen bases, zero career home runs—in a lineup already a bit starved for the long ball.
But so far, Revere is doing exactly what the Phillies hope he will do all season. He is second on the team in both hits and runs scored.
Like Brown, Revere is slated to make the MLB minimum in 2013. He should outperform that by plenty.
And while it may seem strange to put a player set to make $16 million in 2013 on this list, Michael Young fits here.
Considering that the Phillies are only paying $6 million of what Young is due, his spring statistics so far (.294 batting average, tied for second in runs batted in with nine) suggest that Young will be a comparative bargain at third base in 2013.
For a Phillies team stuck with a number of contracts unlikely to fully pay off (Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Howard come to mind), some good news from the hot starters of spring training is really welcome.
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