The outfield was the biggest question mark for the Phillies when spring training commenced. The only certainty was that Ben Revere would play center.
But there were questions about the young fleet, slap hitter. Revere only played center for a quarter of his games in 2012 for the Minnesota Twins. How would he do as a full-time centerfielder in a pressure cooker of a town?
The corner spots were up for grabs. Domonic Brown had to earn a starting job or he was ticketed back to Triple-A. Delmon Young was rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle during Grapefruit League play.
However, the outfield has surprisingly come together. Brown didn’t just make the team. He is headed to the All-Star Game with the second-most homers in the National League.
“I always knew I had the ability to play ball up here,” Brown said. “I just needed to be healthy and get the chance to get it going. I finally got that chance and I’ve made the most of it.”
Charlie Manuel has been impressed with Brown’s attitude.
“He came here to win a job and he’s obviously done more than that,” Manuel said. “Brown has been tremendous. We all knew he had the tools. He has been that good.”
Brown has hit left-handed pitching and played solid defense.
“I’ve worked hard to succeed,” Brown said.
Juan Pierre, the former Phillie who mirrors Revere, said to give Revere some time and the classy Marlin has been correct. Revere is hitting .302 after struggling to hit .200 in the first two months of the season. Since May 1, Revere has a tremendous BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .380.
“I’m not trying to do anything different,” Revere said. “I’m just trying to get my bat on the ball. I think I’m striking out less now, which helps. If you put the ball in play, you never know what will happen. There’s no way to argue that. I also feel more comfortable. I’m getting to know the [National] League.”
Young is starting to turn it on with the bat. During the Phillies last road trip, Young boosted his batting average a whopping 53 points. He recorded five multi-hit games on the trip, after just six multi-hit games in his first 45 contests.
“I’m just feeling more comfortable,” Young said. “It’s pretty simple. I missed spring training. I had a more difficult road to travel but I’m getting there.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is impressed with the Phillies’ outfield.
“They look awfully good and they’re really young, like we are” Gonzalez said. “I think they’re all going to get even better. They have a very talented trio.”