Donald Should Fill In

You can't replace the best second baseman in baseball. With hip surgery this off season, Chase Utley could not return until June, at the worst case scenario. If Utley were to miss time, who would fill in?

The Phillies thought about adding Mark DeRosa through a trade, but the deal didn't fall through. The Phillies signed infielder Marcus "the other brother" Giles to a minor league contract, and the older, injury prone Nomar Garaciaparra has been linked to the Phillies. The Phillies have Eric Bruntlett, who filled in for Jimmy Rollins at shortstop while he was injured in 2008. The Phillies have plenty options, but I think their best bet is somebody in their own farm system: Jason Donald.

A natural shortstop, Donald can also play second base. Donald has become the target of many trade rumors for the Phillies because he is blocked by Rollins and Utley. There is also talk Donald would have to move to third base for the future.

While it will most likely come down to his performance in Spring Training, the 24 year old has shown signs he is ready for the Major League level.

Donald was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels, but decided to attend the University of Arizona. In 3 seasons at the University of Arizona, Donald hit .315 with 20 HR, 18 SB and 127 RBI.

The Phillies selected Donald in third round of the 2006 draft. In 3 Minor League season in the Phillies organization, Donald has batted .297 with 27 HR, 27 SB and 149 RBI. His career OPS is .842.

If college and the minor leagues doesn't prepare enough for the Major Leagues, Donald participated against some of the world's best in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Donald led the team with a .381 AVG. He had 5 RBI, and an OPS of 1.107. His HR in the bronze medal game helped Team USA bring home a bronze.

Donald's numbers haven't decreased. He participated in the Arizona Fall League. He finished 2nd among leaders in batting average hitting .407. He hit 5 HR, 17 RBI, and had an OPS of 1.223.

The downside to Donald is the strikeouts. In 3 seasons, he struck out 162 times in college, 237 times in the minors. He struck out 25 times in 25 games in the AFL. However, many Phillies hitters have showed that strikeouts are just like any other out. Ryan Howard approaches 200 strikeouts almost every year, but is still productive.

If Donald produces at the Major League level, the Phillies have another weapon. When Utley returns, the Phillies have a reliable, much needed right handed bat off the bench. In addition, his trade value rises.

If the Phillies are without Utley, Donald is one of their best options, without having to make a move or going to far. Try him out a month, and if it doesn't work out, they can always send him down to straighten him out until he is ready. A few weeks can't hurt, and who knows, his success could continue at a higher level.

For the counter point of this article, please visit IRONPIGPEN: The Pork Stops Here!



Nice work with statistics from Olympic Games

Post a Comment