A few words on Domonic Brown

My post last night about five suggested trades was meant to be fun. The trade idea that drew lots of reaction on Twitter was my suggestion that the Phillies trade Domonic Brown and Jarred Cosart for Hunter Pence. Hey, part of a writer's job is to stir up debate. But I hope you readers realize by now that I'm not the kind of writer who says crap just for the sake of stirring debate. That's not my thing.

BrownBrownHere's the list of outfielders that Baseball America has named as one of the top six prospects in baseball (since 2000):

Bryce Harper (2011)

Mike Trout (2011)

Domonic Brown (2011)

Jason Heyward (2010, 2009)

Mike Stanton (2010)

Desmond Jennings (2010)

Travis Snider (2009)

Jay Bruce (2008)

Colby Rasmus (2008)

Cameron Maybin (2008, 2007)

Delmon Young (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)

Jeremy Hermida (2006)

Alex Rios (2004)

Rocco Baldelli (2003)

Josh Hamilton (2001)

Corey Patterson (2001, 2000)

Pat Burrell (2000)

Vernon Wells (2000)

Ruben Mateo (2000)

That's 19 players. We have a mix of flops, success stories and maybe -- maybe a superstar or two. Hamilton qualifies, although he's only had two superstar seasons. Heyward and Stanton are on their way. The 19 players have combined for nine All-Star appearances so far -- three apiece from Hamilton and Wells, two from Rios and one from Heyward.

Maybe Brown will become a superstar, another Darryl Strawberry as a reader compared Brown to in my chat today. But he's already 23 and not yet established in the majors. Heyward and Stanton were in the majors last season at 20; they're still two years younger than Brown. Bruce was in the majors at 21. Now, you don't have to reach the majors at that young of an age to become a good player. Wells had a few token appearances, but his first full season came in 2002 at 23. He hit .275 with 23 home runs. Rios' rookie season also came at 23 and he didn't fare well (.286, but only one home run).

Look, if I were the Phillies I wouldn't trade Brown for Pence, either. Brown's potential is too high, even if this aging roster suggests you need to go all-in now (Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco aren't getting younger or better anytime soon). It would be easier and cheaper to replace Raul Ibanez.

But remember: Prospects are like fairy dust. Even the best ones aren't always real. Or have you forgotten that Ruben Mateo hit .336/.385/.597 in Triple-A as a 21-year-old, with 18 home runs in 253 at-bats? For Brown's sake, I hope he avoids Mateo's fate. After all, believing in fairy dust is one thing that makes baseball fun.