The Phillies would love to be able to retain Jayson Werth, but the free agent outfielder is represented by Scott Boras and his asking price at this point in the offseason is thought to be sky high. If Werth signs elsewhere, which seems likely, the Phils are probably going to hand right field duties to 23-year-old Domonic Brown at the opening of the 2011 season.
Brown hit the cover off the ball down on the farm in 2010 to the tune of a .318/.391/.602 batting line in 65 games at Double-A and a .346/.390/.561 batting line in 28 games at Triple-A. He has serious power potential along with good speed on the basepaths and he should be a reliable defender.
There’s little doubt that Brown is going to develop into a productive big league ballplayer, but how long will that development take?
According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Brown left his Dominican Winter League team this weekend after hitting just .069 in nine games. This is the same guy that hit .210/.257/.355 in 70 plate appearances at the major league level in 2010.
Dabbling in small sample sizes is always problematic, but it’s quite common for young players to hit well in the minors and then fail to produce on the big stage (see: Andy LaRoche, Alex Gordon). If things don’t go well for Brown in spring training next year, perhaps the Phillies will look at other options to replace Werth. Or maybe they already feel a need to lock up insurance on the free agent market.
One thing’s certain: Brown needs to do some damage down in Clearwater, Florida next March.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: