Now that the Arizona Fall League has finished, let’s take a look at the Phillies prospects involved. Nine players represented the Phils on the Mesa Solar Sox, who lost in the AFL championship to the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Jason Donald had the best AFL season of all Phils prospects, and rivaled anyone in the league. He hit .407 with a .747 slugging percentage (2nd, AFL) and .476 on-base percentage (4th, AFL). His strikeout rates were a tad high (25, to 11 walks), but you have to be happy with his overall numbers. With Chase Utley’s surgery, it’s very possible Donald could be the opening day starter at second base.
Another top prospect, catcher Lou Marson, joined the Solar Sox late in the season and produced well. In 34 at bats, he hit .324 with a .425 on-base mark and .588 slugging mark. Six of his 11 hits were for extra bases, including three triples. He seems ready to compete for the backup catcher job in Spring Training.
25-year-old Tuffy Gosewich got some snaps as catcher, and he contributed with a .280 AVG, .296 OBP and .280 SLG. It’s about the same as his performance in Clearwater. Gosewich isn’t near Marson’s level, and at 25, don’t expect much more forward movement.
Two outfield prospects joined the club in Mesa. Quintin Berry, 24, hit .311 with a .357 OBP and .389 SLG. The speedster, who set the Clearwater career stolen base mark after 51 swipes in 2008, stole five bases in Arizona. He struck out 19 times and walked six times — not a welcomed ratio. Meanwhile, Jeremy Slayden — who isn’t protected for the Rule V draft — hit .286 with a .322 OBP and .476 SLG, knocking three homers and driving in 27. Berry projects out of the majors right now, but could be a defensive/speed replacement type, while Slayden is nothing more than a fifth outfielder.
Phils pitchers weren’t too gravy. The top prospect on the mound was Tyson Brummett, and the 24-year-old Aussie recorded a 6.23 ERA in 13 innings, but did average a strikeout per inning, with just three total walks. His top-15 prospect rating didn’t really change, as he’ll be tested in the Eastern League in 2009.
Andrew Carpenter, who became dizzy after a rollercoaster season through the system, got pounded for a 5.88 ERA in 26 innings. Still, his 21:9 K:BB ratio isn’t bad at all.
Pat Overholt and Sergio Escalona, both fringe guys at best, also got hit hard for ERAs over 6.00. But while Escalona only walked four in 14.2 innings, Overholt walked 10 in 16.1. Not that good.
What can we take away from the AFL?
For one, the AFL is a hitters league, so don’t be really worried about the high ERAs. For the most part, Phils pitching prospects remain who they are — Carpenter might crack a roster as a fifth starter; Brummett still needs a year against good hitting; Escalona and Overholt won’t amount to much, very likely.
The real results are on offense, where we saw Donald turn into a major-league-ready player. He’s on the short list for the 25-man roster. Meanwhile, Marson continues to impress with his extra-base tendencies. Berry got a nice workout, but needs to show better discipline. Hopefully he’ll do that in Reading.