Domonic Brown is a five tool outfielder with an electric right fielders arm and borderline center fielders speed. The biggest question concerning Brown in all of the gleaming commentary about him is the possible lack of development of any game changing power. But with 44 extra base hits in 2009 there is hope that was the tip of the iceberg. If Brown can continue to develop his power in combination with his plus speed we could see a 20/20 player in Philadelphia as soon as 2010. Let’s take a look at the peripherals for some more evidence of a power spike around the corner.
Brown’s Isolated Power took a big jump in his time at the pitcher’s haven known as the Florida State League in Advanced A ball. After tearing up the FSL for 238 AB’s, Brown was pushed to AA and his IsoP held fast at .177 which is well above average. Through the entire season his BB% was strong, he will however need the get the K% under control before truly being ready for the majors. Let’s take a look at Brown’s hitting mechanics breakdown by BI’s Aaron Bentley.
Brown sets his legs up slightly wider than most hitters. He has that familiar “chicken wing” setup with his arms and wiggles the bat a bit, creating movement in both arms and his upper half, generally.
As I mentioned in the discussion of Brown’s setup, his timing mechanism causes his head to move slightly as he sets up initially. However, right before he swings, he really loads up on his back leg and moves his head backwards and down.
Brown does not create a ton of torque with his lower half. He basically brings his hands through with his hips instead of letting the hips bring the bat through the zone. He does have nice hip rotation, though, so starting his hips just a little bit earlier and creating more torque could lead to bigger power numbers than Brown has shown to this point.
What stride? Brown does not even take his front foot off the ground. You hate to mess with a player’s swing too much, especially one who has shown the great results that Brown has, but if you could get him to lift that foot up a little more and take a slightly bigger stride, that may lead to getting his hips out in front and creating more torque.
Brown gets his hands through the zone so fast that it can be hard to tell much about his extension. On most swings, Brown doesn’t seem to get full extension. He keeps his elbows in a little too close to his body. A small improvement in extension will help Brown’s plate coverage, as well as his power numbers.
I do not think it would hurt Brown’s swing to try to get him to develop a somewhat longer stride. That small adjustment could put Brown on the same level as the hitters just above him on our list. Overall, though, the swing he has now is more than adequate. My biggest problem with it is the large amount of head movement as he loads onto his back leg while waiting for the pitch. The pitcher will be doing enough to try to change a hitter’s eye level without the hitter doing it for him.
Brown still has some tweaks in his hitting mechanics to work through before his true power upside can be realized and he needs to become a better base runner to utilize his plus speed and turn it into stolen bases, but this is a tool set that doesn’t come along often and actually meet its full potential. Brown might be one of the closest true five tool athletes to the Bigs right now and will be fun to watch once he makes it to Philadelphia. How good he will be is still a question mark. But even if he doesn’t reach his full power potential we could see a 20/20 threat anyway. Possible All Star. With his full power potential? Possible MVP years.
Brown’s most likely outcome will be a true right fielder with a shut’em down arm and some 20/20 seasons before his power wains and he picks up a little more power as he matures into a 20-25 HR and 10-15 SB threat longer term.