The Philadelphia Phillies head into the 2013 hoping to rebound from what was a miserable 2012 campaign, for the most part. Not even their strong run down the stretch could save them from finishing third in the division. But with a couple of tweaks and an apparently healthy roster, they could be ready to make some noise.
Much of what the Phils can achieve this year will depend on what sort of production they can get from their outfield. They have a brand new trio out there consisting of prospect (who's not actually a prospect anymore) Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, and Delmon Young.
Revere is going to be a fun player to watch for the Phillies and will bring an excellent glove to the table. Young is a total wild card, but there's a reason many people did not like the signing. Domonic Brown is going to be the player to watch for the Phillies. Heading into the new season, he is the x-factor for this club.
Brown, who is still sort of a prospect, has been a player the Phillies have been waiting a long time for. One could say that this year is his last chance to prove himself as a valuable asset for this club moving forward. He hasn't lived up to expectations so far. But he also hasn't gotten a true opportunity to make an impact.
He hasn't appeared in more than 56 games in either of the past two seasons. In fact, his numbers from 2011 and 2012 are nearly identical. In 2012, he hit just .235, with a .316 on-base percentage, and five home runs. The Phils are obviously looking for more production from the 25-year-old. He also left quite a bit to be desired with the glove.
Coming into the new season, Brown has an opportunity to grab a great chunk of ABs that he hasn't had before. He's the favorite for the starting job in left. Outside of Brown, there aren't a lot of inspiring options, unless you count prospect Darin Ruf, who has just 12 games of big league experience to his credit.
Domonic Brown was once looked at as a future superstar. Now he's fighting for a starting gig. He seems to have his head on straight, which is a step in the right direction. If he can maintain an average somewhere up around .265-.270, hit 15-18 home runs, and knock in 60 or so runs, he could be in very good shape moving forward.
A season like that would go a long way towards helping the Phils prepare for the future, while competing for the present. Obviously, those aren't eye-popping numbers, but it would be a big step in the right direction after struggling mightily in the past two years.
If Brown flops and ends up being shipped out, that's one less piece that the Phillies have as a potential building block for the future. Which leaves them in even more trouble once this current core completely breaks down. The 2013 season is an extremely important one for Brown, not only for his future with the Phillies, but for the future of the organization as well.