Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown and the Invisible Battle for Right Field

Jenn ZambriCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Right fielder Domonic Brown #9 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets won 5-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After Jayson Werth's departure, a seriously intense battle was expected to ensue this spring over the right field starting position.  However, the first few weeks have been a total knock-out for Phillies' top prospect, Domonic Brown.

In 15 spring at-bats so far, Brown has come up with a great big, ugly goose egg.  Eight of his 15 unsuccessful attempts were strikeouts.  Brown is swinging at balls and watching the good pitches fly by as he continues to tinker with his mechanics.

In the meantime, Ben Francisco is quietly ripping the cover off the ball.  Francisco has tallied eight hits, five RBI and one home run while batting .375.  He is wiping the field with Brown to point where it is no longer even a contest.

But for Brown, this is actually not a sudden decline in performance.  He hit only .069 in nine games during the Dominican Winter League.  Before that, Brown averaged .210 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 35 games with the Phillies big league club.

Essentially, Brown has been in a slump since August of 2010, nearly eight months.  And this happened after he hit .346 in 28 games with Lehigh Valley.  His combined minor league average for 2010 was .327 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI over 93 total games.

Most people love a good train wreck, but for Phillies fans, this has been hard to watch.

Brown is the kind of home-grown player that every team strives to produce.  Much like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, he represents the best of an organization's farm system.

To see Brown fail now, after all the hype and all the expectations, would simply be a punch in the gut to the Phillies organization.

So while the battle for the right field position may be over, the fight for Brown's redemption is just beginning.