Infielder Jason Donald represents the Phils’ biggest standout in the autumn scouting league.
Only once in the history of Beerleaguer has the Arizona Fall League revealed useful information as it pertains to a Phillies prospect. That was Scott Mathieson, who, in 2005, was named best pitcher in the AFL, a precursor to the breakout season he had with Double-A Reading beginning that spring. But for every Mathieson, whose career would be derailed with Tommy John surgery later that season, there’ve been many more Arizona stints that offered no hint of future performance.
It’s starting to sound like Jason Donald, who’s hitting .405/.466/.696 with four homers in 87 Arizona plate appearances, is going to play a productive second or short in the Majors some day, but probably not with the Phillies and almost certainly in a situation where he’s used as more of a super-utilityman. A little old to be in Arizona and having never graduated past Double-A, Donald, 24, saw action at third base this fall, but it doesn’t seem like much more than an experiment.
Lou Marson joined Donald and other Phillies teammates last week and has only taken a few hacks. Marson’s coming off a great season with Reading and was present when the Phillies popped the corks in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Philadelphia again. As I've reiterated, Marson's next step is Triple-A, not the Majors.
The Phils are also represented by a couple of outfielders, Quintin Berry and Jeremy Slayden, players who shouldn’t be considered prospects. Berry has great speed, but produced a .701 OPS as a 23-year-old in Clearwater. Slayden, the darling of the Phillies minor league blogosphere, can’t run or throw, but knows how to hit the baseball and work the count against Double-A pitchers who are five years younger. Someday, Slayden might have a chance to walk in Andy Tracy’s shoes as the last man on a bench.
Pitching-wise, Pat Overholt, Sergio Escanola, Tyson Brummett and Andrew Carpenter have not been good. Overholt, Escanola and Brummett are non-prospects, but there’s some degree of hope for Carpenter, the recipient of an Aug. 27 cup of coffee with the big club. The Long Beach State product lost a half season of development when he showed up out of shape and was demoted to Clearwater, but I think the Phils see something in him.