It's nice to see Domonic Brown back on one of these lists. ESPN's Keith Law led with Brown in an article detailing his expected "Breakout Picks" for 2013. A few hours later, Brown hit home run No. 6 in Clearwater.
On Brown, Law writes:
The Phillies have been messing with his swing since he first emerged as a prospect, but it looks like they might have found a formula, as new hitting coach Wally Joyner has altered the position of Brown's hands. Execs and scouts are telling me Brown looks noticeably better at the plate, and better able to drive the ball. He's still well below average on defense, but if he starts hitting and the Phillies don't try to re-re-rework his swing in late April, he'll hold on to the left-field job.
Brown is up to .397/.465/.714 with six homers after Tuesday's homer off Yankees righty Adam Warren. Brown is the only major-league player this spring with a slugging percentage over .700 in at least 50 at-bats. Only four have 50 ABs with a slugging percentage higher than .600: Brown, Ryan Howard and Braves corner infielders Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco.
Howard also homered on Tuesday, his fifth this spring, and Phillies pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Mike Adams, Jonathan Papelbon and Chad Durbin allowed just two hits in a 4-1 win.
Defense was again an issue, as Michael Young and Kendrick each made throwing errors. That makes 32 errors in 24 games for the Phillies. All but nine of those errors have been committed by players expected to make the team. Errors aren't the best indicator of a team's defense because the balls Young or Darin Ruf don't get to can be just as costly as the balls they reach but boot.
Still, it's the exact opposite of what you wanted to see this spring from the Phillies' defense, and you can't just expect the mental and physical mistakes to disappear once March turns into April.
So, unofficially, that's five positive signs for the Phillies in spring training (Brown, Howard, Freddy Galvis, Chase Utley playing regularly, Adams looking lights out), and two negative ones (overall team defense, Roy Halladay's readiness for the season).