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Domonic Brown is Charlie Manuel’s “first choice” for right field. Sort of.

Feb 18, 2011, 8:14 PM EDT

Domonic Brown swinging

It appeared that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel tipped his hand on the favorite for the starting right field job earlier today, telling reporters that top prospect Domonic Brown “is sort of the first choice there.”

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhiladelphia.com, the skipper later had to clarify his comments.

“I should have been a little more specific,” the Phillies manager said. “By ‘first choice’ I mean I want to put him out there and play him a lot. He’s going to get a lot of at-bats [in spring training]. That job is up for grabs.”

Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, Charlie.

Some believe that the Phillies might be hesitant to anoint Brown as Jayson Werth‘s replacement because he struggled in the Dominican Winter League after batting .210 with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in limited playing time with the Phillies last season. There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m of the opinion that they want to create some competition rather than hand him the job outright.

We aren’t going to learn anything about John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco in the next 45 days that we don’t know already. The Phillies are smarter than that, right? This could all change if he goes 0-for-March, but I expect Brown to be on the Opening Day roster and at minimum, start everyday against right-handed pitching.

  1. baseballstars - Feb 19, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Their pitching is so stacked that they could have a disappearing outfielder (like Baseball Stars 2) and still win their division.

  2. megary - Feb 19, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    *If* he’s not ready to hit major league left handers (and I’m not saying he can’t) then there is no point making him part of a platoon at this crucial time in his career. How is that going to help him develop? Send him back to AAA and let him work on it until he’s ready. This guy should be playing everyday.

  3. phillysoulfan - Feb 19, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    I don’t think he starts the season in the bigs. If for no other reason then him batting from the wrong side of the plate. We need a righty in that spot. Send him to AAA get his at-bats. Let him replace Ibanez next season. Who knows? Maybe Francisco or Mayberry turn into the next Jayson Werth?

  4. vader000 - Feb 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Even if he platoons for the first few months of the year its going to do him more good in the long run. He proved last year he can dominate AAA pitching, so what is he going to learn from another 3 months of that? He has to face major league pitchers if you want him to be a contributor on this team. Now if he doesn’t look right in Florida then you send him down, but if he hits this spring I don’t see any reason not to bring him up.

    • mercyflush - Feb 19, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      I agree with that. Like Keith Law said about Brown – he may be one of those rare players whose natural talent is too good for the minors, and he has to develop his game at the major league level. The sooner they get him playing everyday, or at least 80% of the time, the sooner he can reach his potential. They need to live with him getting at least some atbats against lefties.

      The Phillies should give Brown the major league RF job, spelling him once or twice a week with Francisco. They can use Francisco also to spell Ibanez, who is 39 and streaky. That will help balance the lineup.

      Mayberry hit like .350 overall against lefties last year (including for the Phillies). He’s a nice righty bat off the bench.

  5. tucknrolle - Feb 20, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Brown is a nice player. i think the Phils still need a right handed batter, which brown is not. The meat of their lineup is all lefties. I think this well hurt them in the post season. A team can stick their lefty in there and let him go to town. That’s all really besides the point though. Brown can be the next star in Philly his ceiling is very high. I’ve watched him play many times at AAA. I think Mayberry is a nice player as well, plus he’s a righty.

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