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As reported by Todd Zolecki earlier today, Domonic Brown was selected by the Phillies to replace outfielder Shane Victorino , who hit the 15-day disabled list with an abdominal strain. Brown, just 22, was rated the number one prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America during their mid-season prospect rankings.
The Phillies will likely look for Brown to cover right field, as Jayson Werth shifts over to center, and Raul Ibanez will remain in left field. Brown could split playing time with Ben Francisco when a left-handed pitcher is on the hill, but for the most part the job is his to lose.
Brown has done nothing but hit during the past two seasons in the minor leagues. During the 2009 season, Dom spent time between three-levels of baseball (Rookie, Advanced Single-A, and Double-A) hitting .299/.377/.504 with a .880 OPS, 14 HR, 64 RBI, and 23 stolen bases. He began the 2010 season with the Reading Phillies in Double-A where he totaled 271 plate-appearances, posting a .318/.391/.602 with a .993 OPS, 15 HR, and 12 swipes. After being promoted to Triple-A, Brown went on to hit .346/.390/.561 with a .951 OPS, 5 HR over 28 games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Early in his career, Brown was classified as a gifted athlete who could excel at all aspects of the game, but would need time to develop his skills. During his first few seasons, he hit for average, but didn't show signs of home run power (10 home runs combined between 2006 - 2008). Given the numbers produced over the last two seasons, it's fair to say that Brown has developed his athleticism into production at the plate.
Going forward, if Brown produces while Victorino is out, he could stay with the Phillies when Victorino returns from the DL. The Phills could certainly do better than Ibanez in left field at this point in the season. It certainly looks like Brown is capable of taking advantage of Citizens Bank Park, producing a hand full of home runs, while chipping in a few stolen bases as well. Hitting behind Ryan Howard and Werth definitely will have it's benefits for Brown.
Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball has Brown being owned in just 11% of leagues as of right now. This ownership number will certainly skyrocket over the next few days, given Brown's reputation. He's a must own in NL-Only or keeper leagues, and will be a nice addition for fantasy managers in keeper leagues who will be able to see the rewards for seasons to come. For mixed leagues, there is a lot worse at the outfield position than Brown, so he's worth a pick-up in leagues with greater than 10 teams.
As a side note, I saw Brown hit a Justin Verlander fastball about 500 feet (I'm pretty sure it landed on US-19) during a Spring Training game this March in Clearwater. Yes, I know it's a spring training game, but there are only a few 22 year-olds that I know can do that. (see Jason Heyward).
Reggie Yinger is a programmer and is the Senior Editor at Baseball Press. He previously worked for a Minor League Baseball team and hopes to return to baseball full-time in some fashion. His writing has appeared in a men's national magazaine publication and he contributes to The Fantasy Fix. You can contact him firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @sacksjacked.