Don't rush to pick up Domonic Brown

Updated: July 28, 2010, 4:05 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list Wednesday. That is obviously a big story in itself, but since everyone loves the rookies, the pending call-up of top prospect Domonic Brown might be viewed as a bigger deal.

I would caution those people. Victorino is, after all, the No. 21 outfielder on ESPN's Player Rater. I don't view Brown as a top-50 outfielder the final two months.

Victorino apparently suffered a left oblique strain early in Tuesday's win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, though he didn't appear to grimace in pain or show other signs he was hurt until catching a routine fly ball in the seventh inning. I was at Citizens Bank Park; I certainly didn't see him get hurt!

After the game, the center fielder downplayed the injury. Half a day later, he was being given a few official weeks off. What a shame; Victorino had singled twice, stolen a base and scored a run by that point. He was on pace for 24 home runs, 86 RBIs and 33 stolen bases, his best season.

For perspective on those numbers, consider Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox and Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks are the only players in baseball with a combination of more home runs and stolen bases. Of the 33 hitters with 15 or more stolen bases, only nine have 10 or more home runs. Victorino has already reached his career high in home runs, though it should be noted his batting average, down to .250, was down more than 40 points off his 2008 and 2009 final marks.

The Phillies don't seem particularly worried that this injury will be a long-term problem, which accounts for the reason I wouldn't run out and grab Brown in ESPN standard (10-team) mixed leagues. It's quite possible Brown, the team's top prospect who is putting up terrific minor league numbers, will get two weeks of regular playing time, then get demoted again, only to return for occasional starts and pinch-hitting duty in September. This could happen no matter how well he hits. There's just no room when all three Phillies outfielders are healthy, and none is in jeopardy of being benched.