Tuesday, June 05, 2007
A little change in plans … I had intended to talk about the 2007 MLB Draft today, but instead I think that I’ll forego that until tomorrow or Thursday and talk a little about another somewhat unheralded prospect in the Phillies system, Jason Donald. Tomorrow or Thursday I’ll talk about my favorite Phillies prospect, Adrian Cardenas.
Donald, like fellow Lakewood Blue Claw Cardenas, was selected in the 2006 draft by the Phillies. Donald, a shortstop at the University of Arizona, was drafted in the third round (fourth overall pick) by the Phillies and was the ninety-seventh player picked in the 2006 Draft. Donald was just a Junior, so had actually could have returned to the Wildcats for a Senior season and possibly improved his draft position, but elected not to. He had previously been selected in the twentieth round of the draft in 2003 by the Anaheim Angels but elected not to sign for the offered $1.8 million dollars.
Signed by the Phillies promptly, Donald reported to the team’s Short-Season Single-A affiliate in Batavia, New York, to play with the Muckdogs, the Phillies old affiliate in the New York – Penn League (NYPL). In the NYPL, Donald played solid baseball, hitting .263 with a solid .347 OBP. Not much of a power threat – he hit one home run – Donald displayed a little speed in Batavia with twelve steals on thirteen tries and two triples. Donald’s performance rated him a promotion to Lakewood to play in the Single-A South Atlantic League (SAL).
In Lakewood Donald was joined by Adrian Cardenas, the highly touted prospect the Phillies took with their second first-round pick in the 2006 Draft (thirty-seventh overall). Cardenas was the 2006 Baseball America Player of the Year as a High Schooler in Florida. He also played shortstop, like Jason Donald. The team thought so highly of Donald’s skills that they made the move to make Adrian Cardenas into a second baseman.
Donald is currently hitting .317 in Lakewood, with a stellar OBP of .417. Despite playing in a defensively oriented ballpark, Donald has managed to hit four home runs this season.
The book on Donald is that he is an outstanding defensive player who needs to work more on his ability to hit. He seems likely to be a solid defensive shortstop and career number seven or eight hitter. I could very easily see Donald backing Jimmy Rollins up or even replacing him later in his career.
Tomorrow: the Draft or Adrian Cardenas.