Every year in baseball, there is a player that exceeds expectations and shocks us all. This year, so far, that player is Domonic Brown. He had been a prospect bust up until this year and, really, up until May of this season. He tore it up in spring training, but most turned their heads because, well, who really pays attention to spring performances?
Most folks probably ignored the fact that Brown made some mechanical adjustments to shorten and quiet his swing with help from assistant hitting guru Wally Joyner. Increased power shortly followed, and he's carried that into the regular season after starting slowly (.233, three homers, 11 RBIs in April).
In the month of May, Brown smashed 12 home runs and drove in 25 runs in 109 at-bats. If he was on your roster during the month, you probably made a huge push in your fantasy league and are likely sitting atop the standings.
Will it last? Or should you sell high?
There's no arguing that Brown is more balanced and comfortable at the plate these days with a full-time outfield role. The most noticeable change: his swing is much quicker and shorter through the zone, helping him generate a more powerful punch.
Two things that should worry you, though: 1) Brown had 21 strikeouts and NO walks in the month of May. ESPN.com's David Schoenfield points out why this is such a rare, and possibly, ominous feat. 2) Browns' home run rate is currently soaring at 31.6 percent.
Brown is squaring up the ball more often, but he's not making more contact or hitting more fly balls than he has in the past, meaning that number will almost certainly come down, quite drastically. A more compact and quick swing is helping him barrel up and turn on inside pitches, though, so don't ignore that aspect.
Brown's more aggressive approach at the plate has coincided with his power outburst. Perhaps he's just not the kind of hitter that can excel when he's passive. If he continues with that approach, his average is unlikely to continue to rise toward .300 levels.
Brown is still only 25, but he's just not a 40-homer commodity overnight. This torrid stretch will end and he'll start to cool off, but that doesn't mean he'll return to the old disappointing Brown. He's made great strides to unleash the potential that the Phillies expected several years ago, and he'll continue to develop over the next couple of years.
Right now, though, don't get overly excited over what has been a history-making stretch of home run production. He won't put up Barry Bonds-like numbers for the rest of the year, but if one of your league mates is willing to pay a high price to find out how long it'll last, you should consider it, especially in redraft formats.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
Don't miss these great reports....