OCTOBER 26: Brown has elected free agency, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports on Twitter. That will bring his tenure in Philadelphia to an end, barring a somewhat surprising reunion.
OCTOBER 19: The Phillies announced today that former top prospect and starting right fielder Domonic Brown has been outrighted off their 40-man roster. As a player with more than three years of big league service time, Brown will have the option to elect free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A. Also outrighted were catcher/first baseman Tommy Joseph, outfielder Brian Bogusevic and outfielder Kelly Dugan.
Brown, 28, batted just .228/.284/.349 this season — a disappointing season and a near-mirror image of his 2014 batting line: .235/.285/.349. Ranked by Baseball America as the game’s No. 1 overall prospect midway through the 2010 season, many believed Brown to be ticketed for stardom. The former 20th-round pick batted .327/.391/.589 with 20 homers in just 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A in that 2010 campaign, leading to visions of future 30-home runs seasons from the powerful lefty batter.
Brown looked to be delivering on that promise in 2013 when he belted 27 homers and batted a hefty .272/.324/.494 in his age-25 season, but much of that production came in a torrid six-week stretch, and he’s been unable to recreate anything resembling that level of success. He’ll assuredly draw some interest from other clubs with the hope of buying low on his once-potent bat. Brown cleared four years of big league service in 2015, meaning any team that signs him would be able to control him for 2016 and 2017, if he’s productive enough to justify a spot on the roster for that long.
Making this series of moves even more disappointing for the Phillies is that Joseph, too, once ranked among their top prospects. The main piece acquired from the Giants in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, Joseph’s once-promising career has been slowed by injuries — most recently a series of significant concussion issues. Joseph’s first full year in the Phillies organization was marred by injuries, but he looked to have turned a corner in 2014 when he got off to a .282/.345/.551 start in 27 games at Double-A Reading. A left wrist issue that ultimately required surgery cut that season short as well, though, and he hit just .193/.220/.301 in Triple-A this season before moving to first base due to concussion woes.
The 25-year-old Dugan rated 17th among Phillies farmhands last offseason, per Baseball America, but batted just .221/.295/.298 upon reaching Triple-A for the first time this year. Bogusevic, 31, has bounced around the league since debuting with the Astros in 2010. He’s a lifetime .238/.311/.373 hitter in 834 big league plate appearances.