If you close your eyes and remember a player, the first thing you see in your mind is their swing. Babe Ruth would drop his hands before sending a baseball into the next stratosphere. Sammy Sosa would almost jump into the pitches he belted. Ichiro has made his living with his low and in tight swing. And when you saw Domonic Brown's swing, where he projects his bat through the baseball in the windmill like motion only he possesses, that's a swing that gets burned into your brain forever.
The Phillies selected Brown in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft out Redan HS in Georgia, the same school that produced SS Brandon Phillips. He was a relatively unknown prospect until the year 2009, where people began to see the talent he possessed. By 2010, Brown was working his way to the forefront of the Phillies farm system. He tore it up in Reading, then proceeded to dominate AAA Lehigh Valley for the remainder of the 2010 season. Brown wasn't just captivating Phillies fans, but baseball junkies across the states. Baseball America had rated Brown their #4 prospect in America after the 2010 season.
And in the offseason of 2010, the minor league legend that had become Domonic Larun Brown was truly beginning. That offseason, the Phillies were looking to add starting pitching help via trade, and certainly had the prospects to do so. When the Phillies became linked to then Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, they certainly had the prospects to pull off the trade. Yet the one minor leaguer who would've been a deal breaker: Domonic Brown. Despite the notion of being able to add a former Cy Young winner to an already championship caliber team, yet Brown was the only prospect in which Ruben Amaro Jr. refused to give up. The deal eventually got done, as the Phillies sent fellow top prospects Travis D'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor in return for Halladay. It was a work of genius by Ruben Amaro Jr. Here you add one of the top pitchers in the game and keep Brown. He was just biding his time in the minors, waiting for an opportunity. He was destined to be a middle of the lineup hitter for the Phillies. It was just a matter of when.
Two years later, we're still waiting. However, it's not about when he'll be given a chance. It's about if he'll ever get a chance. He's played in just 112 games since 2011, his time fluctuating between the Phillies and Lehigh Valley. He's had just 433 ABs with a stat line of .235/.316/.396, and 12 HRs and 58 RBIs. Yet the Phillies seem quick to rush him out. Charlie Manuel essentially said he doesn't want Brown, before attempting to backtrack from his comments. The Phillies pursuance of a Right Fielder to leap frog Brown in the lineup has been well documented. They've been tied to Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, all big name free agent right fielders. But if that wasn't enough to prove that the Phillies have no hope in the 25 year old (he's only 25!), then the rumored Soriano for Brown deal would. The Phillies and Cubs discussed a trade which would send Brown to the Cubs, and Alfonso Soriano to the Phillies, as well all but $10 million of what's left on his deal. Soriano, whose career OBP is an atrocious .323, was almost a more viable option than Domonic Brown.
It certainly isn't Brown's part. He went from "future starting Outfielder" to "busted prospect being dumped for a 36 year old at the back end of his career" without playing one full season in the Majors. The former top prospect is now a guy whose manager doesn't want to play him, and the fans don't want to watch. Frankly, it's disturbing. That's simply the only way to describe it. It's disturbing that a player you refused to trade for Roy Halladay isn't being given a chance to start. It's even more disturbing that the organization is so willing to give up on him.
If you look at the Phillies minor league system today, it's a shell of its former self. Top prospects like Drabek, D'Arnaud, Taylor, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and others have all been traded so the Phillies could win now. The only man left standing from the pack fo talented youngsters? Domonic Brown.
There's a hole in Right Field, and the Phillies are keeping Dom Brown for filling it from them, instead pursuing older and much more expensive options to play the position. Sure, he's not the most aesthetically pleasing player to watch. His swing is awkward, his defense is questionable at times, but he still possess the talent that the scouts saw just a mere two years ago. It is impossible for a player to blossom into any sort of effective player without uninterrupted time in the Majors. How is any player expected to get into any sort of rhythm splitting time between the pros and the minor league system. This is player mismanagement on an epic proportion, and it's saddening to see such apparent talent put on the back burner.
Philadelphia can continue to stick Domonic Brown in the minors. They can continue to trade for guys like Hunter Pence, or sign an overvalued, expensive free agent like Cody Ross. Yet if Brown does not get the playing time he certainly deserves, then there is nobody to blame but the Phillies themselves.
Jake Pavorsky is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @JakePavorsky.