Phillies 2013 Preview: Outfield

The Phillies’ outfield is — how do we say it? — a bit of a mess right now. At this point, it looks as though new center fielder Ben Revere is the only player with a guaranteed starting spot; left and right field are still up for grabs. As a result, this piece will preview all three of the team’s outfield positions.

Left Field

Please, Phillies — give Domonic Brown a shot!

Brown has never been given a fair chance to succeed with the Phillies. He’s gotten some at-bats, but never the consistent playing time he needs to develop at the major league level. The team has toyed with his batting stance, switched his position multiple times, and shown little patience as he’s struggled to adjust to big-league pitching. To be fair, perhaps the team did not want to wait around for him to find his stroke in the midst of a pennant race in 2010 or 2011, but the situation certainly could have been handled better.

Although he’s no longer a “prospect,” Brown is still one of the most promising young talents in the game. He’s an impressive athletic specimen at 6’5 and 205 pounds. Bill James, quite famously, once projected him to go 30-30, impressed by Brown’s rare power-speed combination. He’s raked at every level of the minor leagues, and although he struggled somewhat at triple-A last year, he has nothing left to prove there and it’s about time he’s handed a permanent role in the majors.

There isn’t much point in making projections for Laynce Nix, the team’s other left field candidate; he’s had trouble staying healthy, isn’t that good of a hitter, and will likely surrender playing time to Brown if the latter is able to put together a hot streak or two early in the season.

Anyway, Brown is the player that GM Ruben Amaro refused to include as part of the trade package for Roy Halladay a few years back. He’s still 25 years old, so he likely hasn’t entered his prime yet. I, for one, am excited to see what Brown can do with an everyday gig. Hopefully he’s able to prove the Phillies wrong for delaying his arrival for so long. But, since he still hasn’t proven himself as a legitimate MLB starter yet, it’s best to be conservative with his projections this season.

Projections: .264, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R, 13 SB

Center Field

It’s a safe bet that Ben Revere will be the Phillies’ center fielder on Opening Day. I discussed Revere and his game when the Phillies acquired him via trade back in December; his skillset is very limited, to say the least.

His 3.1 fWAR last season was inflated due to a 14.9 Fld metric. He played the majority of his innings in right field and just 309 in center — and UZR didn’t love his defense in center, illustrated by a -5.6 UZR/150 at the position, though that’s an extremely small sample size. He also has a terrible arm and won’t make many assists from the outfield.

Revere boasts blazing speed, but has absolutely no power, no plate discipline, and is a slap hitter with extreme ground-ball tendencies. His best player comparison is Juan Pierre with more range and slightly less offensive ability. It’s tough to complain when he’s making just $500,000 in salary this year, but his barren skillset leaves him with little to no upside and he’s a black hole in the lineup when the team needs a clutch hit in a big game.

He did hit .294 last season and ended up with a .333 OBP; however, he walks very little and his .300 wOBA — which put him in Jamey Carroll territory — paints a more accurate picture of what he brings to the table.

Projections: .283, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 74 R, 42 SB

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