In the 1960s, the Virginia Slims corporation famously, and some might say infamously, marketed its cigarettes to young professional women using the slogan: “You've come a long way, baby!” This slogan springs to mind today as the Philadelphia Phillies have announced that Shane Victorino has been placed on the disabled list, and to fill his place, none other than Domonic Brown has been called up from Triple-A Lehigh.
Phillies fans will not need a recap of the trials and travails of the Phillies' erstwhile top prospect, but for the sake of completeness, we provide it here:
Spring Training, 2010: Brown is invited to Phillies camp, and MLB.com names him the 14th ranked prospect in baseball.
April, 2010: Brown begins season at Double-A, where he plays very well, hitting .318 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 65 games.
June, 2010: Brown is promoted to Triple-A and picks up where he left off; actually, he improved upon where he left off, hitting .346 with five home runs and 21 RBI in only 28 games.
July, 2010: Brown is named the top prospect in baseball by Baseball America.
July 28, 2010: Brown is called up to the Phillies, where despite initial success, he ultimately struggles. Brown finishes the season with a .210 average, a .612 OPS and 24 strikeouts in 35 games.
October, 2010: Brown bats three times in the playoffs, going 0-for-3 and not factoring into the Phillies postseason plans.
Fall, 2010: Brown hits only .069 in nine games in the Dominican Winter League and is sent home early to rest up for spring training.
Spring, 2011: Brown gets off to a miserable start in spring camp in Florida, going 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts before getting his first hit of the spring and promptly breaking a bone in his hand.
May, 2011: Brown returns from injury with a vengeance, hitting .368 with two home runs in five games at Single-A Clearwater before moving to Triple-A Lehigh and hitting .341 with a .968 OPS and 10 RBI in 11 games.
Which pretty much brings us up to date.
As we can all see, it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Domonic Brown. Nevertheless, here it is, Friday May 20, 2011, and Brown is right where we thought he would be six months ago: Up with the big club, ready to establish himself as the Phillies right fielder of tomorrow.
The move, of course, was somewhat unexpected, with Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro stating, as recently as Thursday, that if Shane Victorino went to the disabled list, Domonic Brown would not be the player to replace him, saying “We don't think he's ready.”
Nevertheless, one day later, Victorino goes on the shelf and the Domonic Brown Era gets its reboot, after one false start and lots of bumps along the way.
Brown has, indeed, come a long way, baby. This time, let's hope he's here to stay.