Minor League Player of the Year – Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies outfield has one major question mark surrounding it heading into 2011 (well, two if you are concerned with the age of Raul Ibanez, who is currently 38-years old then it is two question marks).  Of course, the major questions surrounds Jayson Werth and if he will resign with the Phillies or be overwhelmed by another offer in free agency.

Of course, when you have a talent like Domonic Brown waiting in the wings, the concerns are minimized.  He’s gotten a taste of Major League action in 2010 (.214 in 56 AB), but he spent the majority of time in Double & Triple-A, posting the following line:

343 At Bats
.327 Batting Average (112 Hits)
20 Home Runs
68 RBI
65 Runs
17 Stolen Bases
.391 On Base Percentage
.589 Slugging Percentage
.369 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He’s deserving of this award (remember, the recipient is someone we think can make an impact in 2011), but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have concerns.  First of all is the BABIP, which we all know is above average.  Granted, he has the speed to justify a better number, but .370 is a bit too much.

Couple that with a 21.6% strikeout rate, which will likely rise when he plays regularly for the Phillies (he’s at 39.3% in his limited duty), and it’s impossible to imagine him hitting over .300.  He appears to be more of a .280ish hitter, max, though that’s certainly not going to make him unusable.

The power is tough to get a grip on.  Just look at a few of his fly ball rates:

  • Double-A (233 AB) – 41.0%
  • Triple-A (104 AB) – 25.3%
  • Major Leagues – 35.1%
  • Minor League Career (1,581 AB) – 33.5%

He’s a little bit all over the map, but he’s also just 23-years old (he turned 23 in September), so he still has time to add strength as he continues to grow.  Plus, you factor in the Citizen’s Bank Ballpark effect, and we aren’t going to worry much about his ability to hit home runs.

As long as he hits the ball in the air enough (which he does), he could accidentally hit 20 HR there.  As he adds more power, there’s no reason to think that he can’t be a 30-35 HR threat.  He’s shown it already this year, with 2 HR in just 28 AB in his home ballpark.

He’s not likely to be there yet, but you never know.

The speed is there, there’s little questioning that.  He’s always shown the ability to steal 20+ bases, and while his ultimate spot in the batting order will determine how much he’s able to run (as well as his RBI and run upside), the potential will be there in 2011.

Of course, the ultimate question is if he fills a spot in the Phillies 2011 lineup.  If Werth ultimately resigns (which is probably unlikely), he’ll find himself back at Triple-A.

There are some negatives, and things Brown needs to work on, but his power/speed potential certainly make him a prospect to watch in all formats for 2011.

Others considered:

  • Tagg Bozied (3B) – .315, 27 HR, 92 RBI – The presence of Placido Polanco, as well as being a 31-year old at Double-A, make it impossible to hand him this award.  It’s an impressive season, but he’s not likely to make a major impact in 2011.
  • Austin Hyatt (SP) – 12 W, 3.32 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 181 K – The majority of his success has come at Single-A, as he actually struggled in a brief stint at Double-A (4.91 ERA over 22.0 IP).  There’s no guarantee he gets a shot in 2011, but he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

What are your thoughts on Brown?  Will he be a Phillies regular in 2011?  How good could he be?

Make sure to check out previous Fantasy Baseball Minor League Player of the Year Award articles:

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