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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


From the headline, sounds as tho JW is also confused by Donald being away from 3B.

Not really. It's the only real story here. Don't read into anything until Clout Day (March 20).

Who's more likley to start the season sharing third base while Feliz is out? Eric Bruntlett or Jason Donald?

It's clearly Eric Bruntlett. It makes all the sense in the world for Bruntlett to get work there, too, and probably more than Donald.

Should there be longer term problems with Feliz, I think Donald will get his chance.

Not worth reading into it really. ABs for Donald, who is young and interesting to Manuel.

I think CJ summarized the situation correctly.

If Feliz is only going to miss 5-10 games it doesn't make sense to start Donald's clock when you can split those starts between Bruntlett and Dobbs.

If it's more of a long-term issue, that's where Donald comes into play. If Feliz has to miss a month or something like that, I'd like to see Dobbs split time with Donald at 3B and leave Bruntlett in the utility role (where he belongs).

Forget Clout Day. I'll start reading into things when they start playing split squad games. If Donald isn't playing third regularly in either the A or B game (allowing Dobbs/Bruntlett to play the other game), then I think it would be pretty fair to read into that.

I haven't ever really doubted that Charlie would go with a Bruntlett/Dobbs platoon if Feliz couldn't start the year. It's what he did last year.

Pirates starting off on the right foot. They are starting 9 relievers tomorrow.

Kudos to the posters on the last thread who know the difference between playing SS and 3B and also know that Donald has the arm to play 3B. You've been doing your homework. Donald's problem is range, not arm.

Also agree with MG & CJ: Unless Feliz is going to miss significant time, Donald will not break camp with the team. Charlie will start Bruntlett at 3B. Whether he platoons him with Dobbs is uncertain. While that would be the right move, I'm not as sure as Jack that he won't play Bruntlett against RHP.

The sooner the better to realize what we have in Donald. A future 3B or someone who 'can' play 3B but is not an option as everyday player at the hot corner.

If the latter, than his trade value may be peaking at this year's trade deadline.

thephaitful: I agree. I think his glove will be fine at 3B, but we need to find out if that great Double A plays "very good" at the major league level or "just OK." If it's the latter then Donald can't be an everyday player because his glove is just average. His bat will dictate his future.

Ooops omitted the word "bat" above. Great Double A bat.

For those that seem so confident that Donald can play 3B, I hope you are correct, but I just can't seem to get past some pretty strong signs that point to the fact that maybe he can't play there.

When he was drafted as a SS, the Phillies knew they had Jimmy Rollins blocking his way to the majors for years to come. So they decided to switch him to 2B where Chase Utley will block his chance to play??? Meanwhile, they had no long term solution at 3B. So why wouldn't they have moved him right to 3B and skip the 2B experiment?

Why wasn't he playing 3B full time in the AFL and now in ST?

This just doesn't makes sense to me.

Also, several people have stated that he has a strong arm. However, doing a quick google search I have found scouting reports saying he has a below average arm. Who am I to believe? I don't know.

But I just can't help but overlook some of these signs that suggest he is not a big league 3B.

how is a player who can play 3B not an everyday option there? what are you referring to? arm strength? power?

I really, really hope that we don't see Bruntlett start a bunch of games at 3B this April. I can already see Cholly praising his "versatility" (one of Amaro's favorite adjectives of late) while he hits a completely empty .240 with average defense.

JW - It is appropriate because their starting pitching stinks. Has there been a team that has been as terrible/snake-bit at developing starting pitching the past 10 years as the Pirates?

"Has there been a team that has been as terrible/snake-bit at developing starting pitching the past 10 years as the Pirates?"

It doesn't really answer your question, but the the Phillies of the mid 80's-late 90's were truely terrible at developing starting pitching.

Coming from that to great does it feel to be WFC's and have the best young lefthanded pitcher as our ace????

It feels pretty great!!!!

Don't know about everyone else but I'd really like to see the Pirates get headed in the right direction. I think I read that the Bucs have had 17 straight losing seasons. One more and they'll have the record. The Pirates have a great history and it's sad to see them so bad for so long. I'm old enough to remember when they were the Phillies biggest rival and mortal enemy. I despised those teams in the 70's. The lumber company and the Family. Just hated them. Dave Parker would never stop running his mouth. But man could he hit. Everyone but Steve Carlton that is. Still I'd like to see them competitive again. They were a great franchise for a long time.

Wes C, baseball scout always differ in opinion. The fact that you found a negative report on any player, Donald included, does not surprise in the least.

Just for kicks, here's the First Round of the 2004 draft:

1 Pirates Bryan Bullington RHP
2 Rays B.J. Upton SS
3 Reds Christopher Gruler RHP
4 Orioles Adam Loewen LHP
5 Nationals Clint Everts RHP
6 Royals Zack Greinke RHP
7 Brewers Prince Fielder 1B
8 Tigers Scott Moore SS
9 Rockies Jeff Francis LHP
10 Rangers Drew Meyer SS
11 Marlins Jeremy Hermida OF
12 Angels Joe Saunders LHP
13 Padres Khalil Greene SS
14 Blue Jays Russ Adams SS
15 Mets Scott Kazmir LHP
16 Athletics Nick Swisher 1B
17 Phillies Cole Hamels LHP
18 WhiteSox Royce Ring LHP
19 Dodgers James Loney 1B
20 Twins Denard Span OF
21 Cubs Bobby Brownlie RHP
22 Indians Jeremy Guthrie RHP
23 Braves Jeff Francoeur OF
24 Athletics Joe Blanton RHP
25 Giants Matt Cain RHP
26 Athletics John McCurdy SS
27 D'backs Sergio Santos SS
28 Mariners John Mayberry OF
29 Astros Derick Grigsby RHP
30 A's Ben Fritz RHP

Actually, that was a pretty stocked draft, but I think you can look at who was picked and in what order, and make a judgment for youself that scouts are not always right.

16 teams passed on the 2008 WFC MVP before the Phillies picked him.

Though some of the pitchers picked above him are pretty good, I would argue that at this point Hamels is the best.

But, don't just look at Cole, take a look at the fact that the Tigers picked Scott Moore and the Rangers picked Drew Meyer instead of Khalil Greene, or that the Cubs picked Bobby Brownlee instead of Joe Blanton or Matt Cain.

Scouts had input into those decisions, so all scouting reports must be taken with a grain of salt.

baxter: what i was inferring with the 'can play 3B' compared to being a future everyday 3B is that he simply may end up being a utility type guy with a desirable bat. If he can't settle into one position, or doesnt flat out rake, then he'll be no different than the rest of our stopgap 3B we've experienced. So why groom another one of those when we can try to trade him as a middle inf. prospect

Agreed that scouts will disagree.

However, when the Phillies drafted Donald as a SS they knew that Jimmy Rollins was blocking him and he had limited range, so a position shift was in order.

The two most obvious postions to move a SS to are 2B and 3B. At the time they chose to move Donald to second instead of third. Seeing as how Utley was firmly locked in as the 2B of the future, it seems the natural choice would have been to move Donald to third. They chose 2B. So, I am guessing the Phillies org seems to agree with the scouts that think Donald has a weaker arm.

Oh, Wes, and just for fun go to and see what the #1 pick in that draft has done vs all the pichers picked after him.

Oh, and OOPS.

That was the 2002 Draft.

Wes: I come down squarely on the side that says if Donald got this far as a ss he almost certainly has the skills to play third. You do make a good point, however. Why in the hell haven't they made this move sooner and now that they have considered it, why are they messing around? Get the kid in at thirdbase. Let's find out sooner rather than later if he can be the answer. Let's face it, with the exception of the Tiny Tears Rolen years, this franchise has been looking for a thirdbaseman since Schmitty. I think its time they committed to him at 3rd all the way. Get as much of a look as you can in ST and then let him go to work at LV.

Wes: You act as if the Phillies decided to change Donald's position soon after drafting him because they had Rollins. Donald was drafted in 2006 so Rollins was already established. In the 3 minor league seasons he's played since being drafted here is how many positions the Phillies have had him play: One. That position is SS.

Now it IS true that he played some 2B and SS this past fall in the AFL. But from that you draw the bizarre and utterly false conclusion that "They chose 2B. So, I am guessing the Phillies org seems to agree with the scouts that think Donald has a weaker arm."

How does your brain work, dude?

I meant to say 2B and 3B in the AFL as well as SS. Again, nothing to suggest the Phils have decided he can't play 3B.

"However, when the Phillies drafted Donald as a SS they knew that Jimmy Rollins was blocking him and he had limited range, so a position shift was in order."

Actually, Wes, I'm going to disagree with the comment above.

Baseball teams don't always draft for their immediate needs, or with regard as to whether the draftee might be "blocked".

It's unusual that a player sails wuickly through the minors. Most take time to develop, and a lot can happen in that time.

Besides, because no draftee is the sure thing you can never worry about a drafted played being "blocked", because that assumes he'll make it to the show, and you know what happens when you ass-u-me.


There are a lot of things wrong with your assumptions:

"However, when the Phillies drafted Donald as a SS they knew that Jimmy Rollins was blocking him and he had limited range, so a position shift was in order."

The MLB draft is not the same as the NFL draft. Guys are 3-4 years away from playing in the bigs so millions of variables can change in that period of time. You draft the best player and don't worry about who's "blocking" them as the starter currently on the big league team.

Also guys often tend to change positions in the minors for a myriad of reasons. Burrell played 3B at Miami. Carlos Ruiz was a 2B in Panama. It can be because they may have been capable of playing one position in HS/College that they're not capable of playing at the major league level (like Burrell). Or because by the time they reach the high minors, the team has an entrenched star at that position (as is the case for Donald).

Also, this:

"At the time they chose to move Donald to second instead of third."

I'm not even sure what you're talking about this point. I'm not sure you know what you're talking about this point. Because he's playing 2B tomorrow they've chosen to move him to 2B? It's one game. He's going to see time at 2B, SS, and 3B this spring.

We don't know what position he may end up at down the road.

"So, I am guessing the Phillies org seems to agree with the scouts that think Donald has a weaker arm."

You made this non-sensical argument in the last thread. Myself and others explained why you need a stronger arm to play SS than third base. If he doesn't cut it as a third baseman, it will be due to a lack of quick reflexes or an inability to field bunts or something else specific to 3B. He has the arm strength to play the position.

Man, I feel like clout.

Interesting that there has been some discussion of the Pirates development of SP on this thread and the draft I posted above had them picking a SP first.

Also, take a look at the list.

Three of the players taken in that 2002 1st Round are now on the Phillies' 40-Man Roster.

Jeltzie, nice!

Wes: I think you're confused. Jason Donald has NEVER played 2B in his minor league career. Ever. Despite being blocked by Rollins, the team has never moved him to any other position.

Frankly, I think his great year with the bat at AA has accelerated plans for him and that has lead to time at both 2B and 3B in the AFL. He may be a utility guy in the future or something more.

But NOTHING this team has done to this point has suggested the team would rather have him play 2nd than 3rd.

Wes- AWH is right here, and it is well known that a lesser bat may 'play' at SS and not at 3B. This is because SS is a higher value defensive position. Great fielding in a 3B is a luxury, in a SS its almost a necessity. What this means is the same hitter who can play a credible SS has more 'value' than the guy who plays 3B. Teams wait on moving a guy to keep his trade value high (and also presumably because it is not such a difficult switch to make). So while I agree that the time has come to get JaDo some time at 3B, the fact that they have not done so sooner does not really tell us much about whether he will be able to hack it.

This, from MLBTR, could affect Jason Donald and the Phillies 2009 roster:

"Nomar Garciaparra To Decide Soon
By Tim Dierkes [February 24 at 9:25am CST]
According to ESPN's Buster Olney:

It's expected that Nomar Garciaparra will make his decision by mid-week on whether he wants to play in Oakland, or in Philadelphia, or if he'd prefer to walk away from the game.

Garciaparra, 35, hit .264/.326/.466 in 181 plate appearances for the Dodgers last year while playing first base, shortstop, and third base and earning $8.5MM. Ken Rosenthal wrote about Nomar yesterday, saying the Phillies are pessimistic about signing him because the A's are offering an opportunity for more at-bats."

We'll see.

Great point by CJ. A big reason for the delay in the Jason Donald experiment was probably due to the big season he had last year with the bat. Seems like maybe that caught the Phils by surprise a little. "Holy Crap this guy might only be a year or two away. We better find a position for him"

I think CJ hit it on the head - Donald's only came into these discussions because of his very recent success. No one has been trying to 'make room for Jason Donald' until very recently. So to look back at his 2007-08 years in the minors and ponder why he wasn't groomed to play 3B is because he simply didn't show the type of potential to start moving him around to where he can fit on the MLB club immediately.

And now that he has started to show this potential, the Phils are doing exactly that, moving him to other positions.

I still think he should be playing 3B tomorrow, but as others pointed out, i may be overreacting to the 1st ST game.

I certainly hope any offer we had out to Nomar was pulled after the first day of ST.

curt, why? If Nomar makes the team better, why wouldn't you sign him?

It seems like the Phils saw Donald more as a super utility guy. They didn't need to make "room for Donald" either because both Rollins and Utley are locked up through 2011.

The issue is will Donald hit enough (specifically power wise) at 3B to overcome his likely defensive limitations there as a full-time starter. If he only hits .260-.270 with limited power I bet the Phils don't think so.

I'm a little leary of a guy who is still trying to decide if he wants to play or not. Especially one that goes on the DL if he gets shampoo in his eyes.

MG: I think you just described Rick Schu.

It's a team game. 64 guys get it. Nomar is about Nomar. No thanks.

I hate posting when I am in agreement with others, but I believe that most are right on the Donald situation. It makes no sense to move him to 3rd base right now. Jason Donald's bat plays very well for SS and 2nd base. The longer they keep him at those positions, the longer they keep his value at its highest.
Although I would like to see him as the platoon 3B w Dobbs, it does'nt make financial sense because it would burn up Donald's service time for no reason. Chances are, that he would hit no better than Bruntlett for the 1st month. Also, the Phillies might see only 4 LH pitchers in April, so it would be waste to start Donald's clock for those few starts.
The combination of service time and holding the prospects value while deciding what to do with him, dictates leaving him at the premium defensive positions.

I'm done with Nomar. Grudz or bust

Its great how you all figured out what to do with Jason Donald already. The Phillies haven't

Or Charlie Hayes.

MG: I think you may be right about how they view Donald. I think in 2010 he'll get an opportunity to be a cheap stopgap at 3B (splitting time with Dobbs). If he takes that opportunity and shows he has what it takes to be an everyday player, they'd be thrilled.

If it turns out he doesn't have the bat to be an everyday player, he can basically have the Bruntlett role of backing up all the IF positions. Then they can go look for another answer at 3B.

I think he'll get his opportunity; it's just a matter of what he does with it.

How does Jason Donald lack power? Last year, he hit 14 HR in 362 at bats. The most HRs Chase Utley ever hit in the minors was 18 in 431 at bats. Jason Donald isn't a slugger, but he could probably hit 18-25 hrs a year. Thats plenty for an otherwise solid all-around 3B on a powerful lineup.

donc - Now that you think about it that might not be that far off. Donald might hit for a higher average than Schu did but 3B is still somewhat of a power position.

For example, if you look real quick at last year's stats most 3B who could be considered "starters" (say at around 400 ABs or more) had at least 18-20 HRs.

Donald might be able to hit for a decently high average and have a respectable OBP because of his walk numbers but the question is his power numbers because of his likely defensive limitations at 3B. If Donald can hit around 15 HRs as a starter at 3B then he likely sticks. If not, he really is best used as a super utility player kind of like the Phils use Dobbs right now.

Donald's stat line translated from Reading to Philadelphia is .255/.316/.397. Which would actually be better than what 3B produced for Philly last year.

Baxter - Didn't say they Donald couldn't develop moderate power at the big league if given the chance. Still, that is a pretty big assumption and power numbers mean less at 2B than 3B.

Mike77 - If the Phils keep Donald at Allentown to start the season but keep him at 2B/SS, it really makes little sense unless the Phils really think Donald's ceiling at the major league is really a utility bench player.

As for Bruntlett, I am willing to bet that Donald could outhit at this point. Bruntlett likely won't have OPS around .650 (and probably even closer to .620 or .630 at the best). It really isn't hard to believe that Donald couldn't hit a better than those poor numbers.

Donald walked 47 times and struck out 86 times last year.

If we are talking ex-Phils at 3B, I would take Charlie Hayes any day of the week over a guy like Schu. Hayes wasn't a worldbeater either but he was generally a credible starter during the tenure of his career in MLB. Schu wasn't. Schu would largely have been relegated to the dustbin of baseball history a while ago if he weren't the supposed successor to Schmidt. Worst gig around is to succeed somebody who is wildly successful at what they do.

Charlie Hayes was awful for the Phillies. He was worse than David Bell.

Career OPS+

Rick Schu 92
Charlie Hayes 88
Pedro Feliz 84

Hayes was a solid fielder, better than Schu, not quite as good as Feliz.

mikes77: I don't think may people are suggesting they don't move Donald to 3B. They are saying it doesn't have to happen tomorrow.

Unless we know Feliz is going to be out for a long time, Donald should start the season at AAA playing 3B. If he can't handle it... fine, make him a utility infielder or deal him. If he can handle it, we're going to need a 3B next season and it's not like we'll have a lot of money to throw around.

Try posting Charlie Hayes's OPS+ with the Phillies.

Charlie Hayes OPS+ with us:

1989-93 (84 games)

Rick Schu OPS+ with us

1984-178 (17 games)
1991-(-38, yeah, negative 38 in 17 games)

David Bell

2006-87 (92 games)

baxter: The rest of his career doesn't count?

From the Baseball America chat regarding the Top 100 prospects:

Q: Nick from Philly asks:
Jason Donald? Is he for real? What chances do you give him being an everyday player versus an utility player?

A: John Manuel: The bat's for real; his defense at SS is not, but I think of him as a better version of David Bell, a 2b-3b who can hit and defend either position well. He's not a classic profile 3b but there aren't a ton of those out there. I think he'll be a solid regular.

Until his 08 season, the Phillies pretty much had Cardenas ahead of him in importance and Harmon interchangable with him as 2 okay possible utility guys. Donald took a step forward, Harmon did not.

"The issue is will Donald hit enough (specifically power wise) at 3B to overcome his likely defensive limitations there as a full-time starter. If he only hits .260-.270 with limited power I bet the Phils don't think so."

Dave X makes the same point, but I don't understand this 3B profile issue. If he's an upgrade at 3B from what the Phils have or what's reasonably available, he should play there. It's not clear that Feliz has the profile to play 3B either.

Steve Norworyta described Donald as a super utility type who could even play in the outfield in a Feb. 10th Blue Claw Podcast. The Phils plans for Donald seem to be in that role and replacing Bruntlett next season. With Rollins controlled for three more years, Utley more years than that and Mattair or Hewitt in the system for third in future at the ML level it seems that Donald is slotted to be the Eric Bruntlett of the future in Ruben's master plan.

I love how Donald's HR number is the definitive factor of his MLB-readiness.

dull beat me to it. we don't even know yet if jason donald can hold eric bruntlett's MLB jock...

OT - The Oakland A's owners have abandoned plans to relocate in Fremont Ca. So, where will be the next home of the former Philadelphia Athletics?... San Jose? Portland? Sacramento?

I do understand that 3rd base is supposed to be a power position but in this case is that really important? For the next three years at least you have the premier power hitter of his generation in the lineup. You will also have a secondbaseman with well above average power and a shortstop with above average power. I think its easy to get carried away with that kind of stuff. If the guy can play a decent third base and is a productive hitter, a little below average power wouldn't be the end of the world. And trying to project his power into the future based on AA is a complete reach. The kids young. He could get much bigger and stronger as he gets older. In fact it is likely that he will. If he turns out to be a hitter and can field the position, his power will turn out to be a non-issue, imho.

KoolEarl: "The Oakland A's owners have abandoned plans to relocate in Fremont Ca. So, where will be the next home of the former Philadelphia Athletics?... San Jose? Portland? Sacramento?"

Assuming you're correct, how about Vegas, brother? Pete Rose can be teh manager.

dull: Mattair? Moose Mattair? Thirdbaseman of the future? Whose future?

Sophist - Because if he is only around average offensively and below average defensively I doubt the Phils will view Donald as a starter solution at 3B.

If the Phils do only view Donald as a replacement for Bruntlett, then they really doesn't hold much value for them as backup middle INF are generally cheap to acquire and Donald will only get 150-200 ABs since he won't start alot unless he gets his share of starts at 3B next year.

"we don't even know yet if jason donald can hold eric bruntlett's MLB jock..."

Considering that Bruntlett was one of the worst players in MLB last year offensively that isn't saying a whole lot. It is like Bruntlett is a stellar defender at SS either.

Good morning. Smile, there's a game today!!!

Don't sleep on Pablo Ozuna this spring. Donald & Bruntlett aren't exactly roster spot blockers...

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