The addition of Hunter Pence means a new team and position for top prospect Domonic Brown.
Brown is a Lehigh Valley IronPig, having been optioned by the Phillies to make space for Pence. He's also now a left fielder, the place where his immediate future in this organization lies.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said he views Pence as a right fielder, meaning Brown must switch sides of the field in preparation for 2012. Raul Ibanez is a free agent. The Phillies outfield will be Brown, Shane Victorino and Pence -- barring injury, of course.
It will be among the top outfields in the National League, if everything goes according to plan. That plan involves Brown improving his defensive abilities.
Offensively, Brown's .782 OPS is superior to Ibanez's numbers. But it's clear Charlie Manuel has little confidence currently in his 23-year-old outfielder.
It's not that Brown cannot be a good defender because numerous talent evaluators think he has enough athleticism and desire to improve. Learning on the job during a pennant race for a team with championship aspirations was not perferable. More than a few Phillies people were most disappointed at Brown's tentativeness in the field. The only thing to cure that is success, and the hope is that happens in the minors.
The International League season ends Sept. 5 and the IronPigs have a shot at postseason play. Brown will be back once rosters expand in September, with the hopes that a month of regular at-bats in the minors has restored confidence.
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