Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
What does the Delmon Young signing means for the fantasy value of Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf?
I'm a bit late to the party when it comes to reacting to this news, so I'll try to keep the Delmon mocking to a minimum. On the one hand, Young's 2012 OBP of .296 is deplorable. On the other hand, it's the first time he's fallen below .300 in his career, so maybe we're in line for a bounceback season? Sorry. That was the most optimism I could muster. We know that at his best, Young is a flawed player who can occasionally provide value with his power. On the bright side, Citizen's Bank is a good park for an otherwise unskilled power hitter. On the dark side, the Phillies employ too many otherwise unskilled power hitters, plus they have Michael Young. So, insults aside, what does Young's acquisition and installation into right field mean for the rest of the Phillies outfield? The two most interesting players affected (at least in my eyes) were Darin Ruf and Domonic Brown.
Ruf entered 2012 with no fanfare and off of most radars, as might be expected of a 26 year old in Double-A who lacked Evan Gattis' bizarre career path. That changed when he slugged 38 home runs while beating up on significantly younger competition. To their credit, the Phillies skipped Ruf over Triple-A and sent him straight to the major leagues...in September. Ruf did accrue 37 plate appearances, homering in three of them, causing people to say regrettable things like "Babe Ruf", when the only comparison between the two that can reasonably be made is in respect to their respective girths. In Ruf's favor are the more than respectable strikeout and walk rates he posted in Double-A that would normally portend some sort of future success for a prospect, especially one who hits 38 home runs. Against him is that pesky age factor, meaning he's playing players who are immature both developmentally and physically. Still, it makes sense for the Phillies to find out if they have anything in Ruf even if the chances are slim, rather than let him languish in the minors.
All of this lead to the likelihood that Ruf would make the Phillies 25-man roster out of spring training...until the arrival of Young. Prior to the Young signing, it seemed as though Ruf might have been an every day starter, his only competition being the uninspiring John Mayberry, Jr and the disappointing and perhaps irrevocably damaged Domonic Brown (more on him soon). At worst he could have been part of a platoon with the left-handed Brown, which would at least give him a chance to hit lefties while limiting his exposure to right handed pitchers. As it stands after the signing, it looks like Mayberry, Jr. will be inheriting that role, with Ruf stranded back in the minors (per MLB Depth Charts). Obviously Spring Training results will have some say in how everything shakes out, but in one fell swoop, Ruf went from a guy you could safely ignore while hoping someone would waste a pick on him to someone who everyone will ignore entirely.
Brown should be familiar to prospect hounds and traditional baseball followers alike. He was the next big thing, reaching the top 5 in multiple prospect rankings at one point, showing the ability to hit and hit for power, adding solid speed. He should have been a fantasy monster. Instead we've seen 433 at-bats spread over 3 seasons as the Phillies have attempted to "correct" his swing mechanics. Even with all that in his past, it looked like the Fightin' Amaros had no choice but to give him playing time on the good side of a platoon, if not an outright starters job. After the Young signing though, regular at-bats are but a memory with Brown's upside being represented in the aforementioned platoon. If he can cash in on the promise he once had, he could render Mayberry, Jr. as a true 4th outfield, but given his history that seems unlikely now. It's likely that Brown would best be served with a "change of scenery" but it seems that GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. (rock) is unwilling to trade him while Coach Charlie Manuel (Hard Place) is unwilling to play him, leaving Brown humming Stealer's Wheel.
While Brown retains some value as the left-handed side of a platoon playing in a good hitter's park, it's hard not to feel gunshy around him. He's not someone you want to rely on even as an upside play, and if you're going to take a flier I'd make him my 6th outfielder at best (lower in 5 OF leagues).
Neither Brown nor Ruf are worth much even in deep/dynasty leagues. A flier on a bad team at best really. But that was never truly the point of this article. I'm going to come clean. This article was not truly in-depth look at the Phillies, their outfield mess, their befuddled GM or any of that. It was a ruse, designed so the author could post the results of his pathetic computer graphic skills. Forgive me. We're coming down the home stretch before Spring Training, I'm suffering from a lack of inspiration (at least until my prospects drafts (mock and non-mock alike) conclude), and if I'm ever going to showcase my artistic vision, the doldrums of early February seem as good a time as any. Please note that I'm well aware that I have no artistic talent, computer or otherwise.
"If the Phillies were Japan, Ruben Amaro, Jr. would be Godzilla" - me, at some point.
Delmon is added in as King Kong cause this is the picture I decided to use. The concept is that Ruben Amaro is destroying the Phillies. This is high art, people. Please accept my humblest apologies for wasting your time.
MLB Depth Charts