Brown and Walks
There’s been a lot of talk about Dom Brown lately, and rightly so. He’s on quite a tear as well all know. One strange thing that has been mentioned, also, is the fact that he didn’t walk for a whole month while hitting all of those home runs. I included that in a recent post. One reason this has gotten some attention is the fact that, well, it is strange, and that walks and on-base percentage has really come into the limelight with the Moneyball and sabermetircs phenomenon..
In my opinion, I am not going to quibble over no walks with all those home runs for a few reasons. One, for the first month of the season, he looked anywhere from very bad to just okay. It’s good that he’s hit all those home runs and hit .303 for the month. Second, who else is going to drive him in if he did walk? Ben Revere? Freddy Galvis? The Phillies lineup has been having a hard time driving in runs, so if he did take more walks at this point, he’d probably be stranded. Third, if you look at his minor league stats, Brown not only showed good power, but a very good ability to get on base. He had a .373 OBP for his minor-league career. There was a reason why he was the “untouchable” prospect. So while he may not have that OBP average in the majors, I would imagine it will improve with time.
Apparently there have been some articles written claiming that the recent sabermetric-fueled obsession has resulted in passive hitting and less runs and hits over the past decade. At least that’s what Sports Illustrated Tom Verducci thinks. It’s actually an interesting article with stats to back up some of what he says. He even goes after Joey Votto for caring TOO much about getting on base and not enough about driving in runs. Obviously, there is a trade-off between the two and the hitter needs to find a balance. Verducci fails to mention (he wrote the piece in April) that while he may have been driving in less runs, he was getting on base more and that means hitters behind him would have more of a chance of driving him in.
Now, if you read this recent ESPN piece, there was a response to Verducci’s article from some stat guys over at Fan Graphs that suggest Verducci isn’t quite right.
Getting back to Brown, here is a piece on Grantland.com about the Phillies left fielder and how he ties into all of this. There are some interesting stats in the article including the fact that a good number of Brown’s home runs have been the “fence scraper” sort. He also makes a good observation that Brown’s power surge may also coincide with the recovery time of the hand injury he sustained early in 2011. I do agree with the author that Brown will almost certainly cool off and will have to take more walks. And his minor league stats do suggest that that will happen.