It’s Still Early, But Dom Brown May Be Our New Ryan Howard

Back when we had our little Phillies season preview, our own Adam Brodsky and Jim Adair disagreed on how Dominic Brown‘s season would go. So far, it looks like Adam was more accurate, now that Deadspin has declared him “your new favorite slugger.”

At this point, Dom Brown has played 56 games, matching his season-high, set in both 2011 and 2012. This gives us a pretty unique look into how he’s doing this year vs. years past, and the short answer is: He’s doing better. He’s already set career-highs this season for hits (57), home runs (a league-leading 16), RBI (40), and stolen bases (4); on the other hand he’s also tied his season-low for walks (11) and set a high for strikeouts (40). Basically he’s playing the ball we’ve come to expect from Ryan Howard in the past. He’s batting .282 and thanks to all those home runs is slugging .574. At the same time, Ryan Howard has hit 7 home runs, while trailing Brown in all those statistical batting numbers and racking up 24 more strikeouts in 12 fewer at-bats.

And while we know that projections hardly ever work out as accurate, let’s look at Brown’s. As he’s currently played 56 of the Phillies’ 57-games, he’s on track to appear in 159, with 573 at-bats. Based on his stats now, and what he’d get in 159 games based on this pace, Brown’s final line could look something like this: 162 hits, 20 doubles, 45 home runs, 114 RBI, and 114 strike outs. All together, it looks nearly comparable to Ryan Howard’s 2008 season — 153 hits, 26 doubles, 48 HR, 146 RBI, 199 SO — when he came in 2nd in MVP voting, although the outcome of that 2008 season was something this season does not seem to be replicating.

We don’t think anyone though the team to be three games below the even mark at this point, and we’d venture to guess even fewer people thought Dom would have the NL home run lead right now, but as is the silver lining in all Phils news, at least we’re doing better than The Mets.