In 2013, Philadelphia was captivated by the performance of Domonic Brown. As mainstays Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins were in the midst of a decline due to Father Time, Brown’s success gave hope to the future of the Phillies’ organization. In his best season as a professional, Domonic Brown hit 27 home runs and knocked in 83 runs while slashing .272/.324/.494 in 139 games. His first-half was marked by an outstanding May, in which he smashed 12 home runs and amassed a .991 OPS. He followed up in June with 6 home runs and an .884 OPS. Two great months earned Brown his first, and only, All-Star selection.
Yet, his good habits died hard and the 2014 season was not so kind to Mr. Brown. He appeared in more games (144) in 2014, but failed to match any numbers from the previous season. 2015 was a year to forget, as Brown bounced around the minors without much success. He was not re-signed by the Phils following the 2015 season, giving Brown free reign to sign with any club as a free agent.
So, what happened to Downtown Dom? Is he buried in the Phillies’ minor league system? Is he bagging groceries? Is he coaching a high school team?
Believe it or not, Brown is still in professional baseball. The 28-year old outfielder is playing for the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate Buffalo Bisons (AAA) in the International League. In 98 games, the left-handed hitter is slashing just .245/.319/.349 with 6 home runs and 32 runs batted in.
It seems his career as a professional baseball player will be over before he reaches his 30th birthday, unless he’s willing to cede at-bats to younger players to remain on a roster and collect a paycheck. I’d argue his career follows a similar path to that of the NBA’s Jeremy Lin, or the NFL’s Nick Foles – one or two electric seasons, but nothing else to show for it. Yet, both of those names are still more familiar and sweeter on the tongue than the sour taste left after saying “what could have been?” in regard to Brown.
In a game that is and always will be a business, Domonic Brown succeeded in reaching his potential in 2013. The Phillies truly got their value out of the young outfielder, but Ruben Amaro Jr. was disillusioned by the team’s incredible success in the past. He should have traded Brown (and the rest of the Fightin’ Phils) to squeeze out all the value he could of Philadelphia’s baseball heroes. Yet, the key to longevity in professional sports is consistency, and one good year – well, two good months rather – just simply was not enough to give Dom Brown another chance at having a prolific MLB career.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com