Domonic Brown was one of the guys who we were really excited to see when we were planning our AFL trip. A fast-twitch athlete with a lot of speed, he's a rare talent with a very high upside. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound Florida native is fresh off a breakout season where he displayed patience, power and decent contact skills.
I had a chance to catch up with Brown at the AFL and talk about his experience facing Stephen Strasburg, how he felt about being discussed as a potential trade chip and his offseason plans.
Adam Foster: I saw you watching Strasburg's bullpen session a couple days ago. What do you think about potentially facing that guy for the next five years or so?
Domonic Brown: He's a tough guy to face. He throws every pitch for a strike and as you know he throws 100. It's tough to face him but I'm up for the challenge. He struck me out once already -- I had a pretty good at-bat, took him 3-2. I wouldn't mind seeing him every day. I wouldn't mind it at all.
AF: You have a couple of full seasons under your belt now. How mentally and physically exhausting is it playing this deep into the season here at the fall league?
DB: It's tiring but, you know, baseball's my job and I know I gotta continue progressing. I'm just out here working and having fun with all the prospects. I'm having a good time, man.
AF: Is it more mental exhaustion at this point -- if any -- or physical?
DB: It depends on how you're doing. For me really my body's just tired right now -- it's November. A lot of the guys, you know, they're not doing well here. It's both. But you've gotta just continue pushing and working hard -- hopefully continue to have success.
AF: Yeah, it's definitely a good place to learn. But I noticed last night even the fans were giving you a hard time for some of those fly balls.
DB: (Laughs) Yeah man. A couple of those fly balls go in the lights. It's gonna happen; once they get in the lights it's kind of hard for you to do anything about it and I've never had any problems in the outfield before. So it's kind of like, "What am I doing out there?" But it's gonna happen. It's happens.
AF: So it's been three years since you were drafted. Looking back, what have you learned since high school?
DB: I'm just learning how to play the game the right way. When I got drafted I was just a skillsy player. I was really raw. Now I'm really starting to learn how to play the game the right way.
AF: What are some things in particular that you've learned to do?
DB: Run the bases...getting better -- every aspect of the game. Playing every day is a key. In high school I really didn't play all the time because I played football and basketball. So now that I play every day, I'm just learning every aspect of the game and getting better.
AF: You have a really strong arm. I imagine there were some times where you were wondering if you might end up being a pitcher?
DB: Yeah, coming out of high school, I thought I was gonna be a pitcher really. But I like to hit more, so it worked out in my advantage.
AF: Was the opportunity to be a hitter kind of something that turned you more toward baseball than football? Or were you always thinking baseball?
DB: I was always thinking baseball if it was pitching or hitting.
AF: There were a lot of trade talks about you around midseason and I know usually the players just try to ignore them. You've gotta go out and play your game.
AF: But given the guys and the trades that were talked about with you, you had to think about it just a little bit.
DB: Oh, of course...think about it a little bit. But when I'm playing that's the last thing I'm worried about really. I was kind of glad when it was over with.
AF: Well, and in the end, too, I think it shows the kind of guys the Phillies were going after. They obviously made a push -- made it to the World Series -- the fact that they held onto you has to mean something to you.
DB: Yeah, it does. You know, it's humbling for me. A guy like Roy Halladay's probably going to be a Hall of Famer and the Phillies didn't give me up, so that means a lot to me.
AF: So you're gonna have less than three months this offseason -- pretty much been playing baseball for 9-10 months now -- what are you gonna be doing during that short period of time?
DB: I'm gonna be restin' for like two or three weeks I know. Then I'm going to be right back at it...busting my butt; getting back to work.
AF: Any whiffle ball plans for the offseason?
DB: Yeah, I'm going to be playing whiffle ball...play whiffle ball all the time, man. You gotta keep that hand-eye coordination good.
AF: You got a nasty knuckler or anything?
DB: Yeah, I gotta nasty knuckler, man. Most of the time I'm just hitting, though. I really don't play whiffle ball like we used to. But we've got the little golf balls. And I get feeds from them; just hit 'em. Hit 'em around. I do that a lot.