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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jason Donald vs. Eric Bruntlett: Can Donald take his job?

In the three games I have watched in Florida, Jason Donald has looked pretty sharp. In today's game, he went 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. He is now 11 for 28 this spring.

Yes, I know you can't judge a player based on 28 at-bats. However, when you consider that the 23-year-old put up a .391 OBP in AA ball last year (in addition to 14 homers in fewer than 400 ABs), then it's pretty clear his MLB career is a matter of "when" and not "if."

As much as I like the way Eric Bruntlett plays the game, I feel that if Donald does not win Bruntlett's utility infield job this spring, it will happen before the end of the 2009 season.

The Phillies will probably carry two catchers (Ruiz and either Coste, Paulino, or Marson*), five outfielders (Ibanez, Werth, Victorino, Stairs, and Jenkins**), and six infielders (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Dobbs, and either Bruntlett or Donald). If either Pedro Feliz or Chase Utley is inactive on Opening Day, obviously the Phils can carry both Bruntlett and Donald. However, once all the infielders are healthy, Bruntlett may be headed for the showers.

In other news, Kyle Kendrick got demolished today by the Atlanta Braves' spring travel-roster. Starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes (no relation to Donna Jo Tanner) went 2 for 2 against Kendrick, including a long double off the base of the centerfield fence, which is over 400 feet away from home plate. In 3+ innings, Kendrick allowed 8 runs on 10 hits. Clint Sammons, the Braves projected third catcher, hit two monster homers off him. Stick a fork in Kendrick, he's done.

*I honestly don't know which of these 3 will become Ruiz's backup. My guess now is Paulino, but it's a shot in the dark.
**Unless Mayberry pulls a huge upset and the Phillies hand him Jenkins' job. Given Mayberry's career minor league numbers, this would be a mistake by the Phillies.


Anonymous said...

hypothetically we wont need a left fielder for after the 7th inning anymore. do you think this limits the beard to just an infielder as opposed to the of/if utility man he developed into last year? you got to assume stairs wont play much in the field and jenkins wont play at all against lefties right? hope youre enjoying your grapefruit

Anonymous said...

and by hypothetically i mean theoretically, i blame this current marquette run

Andy Musser said...

Manuel will certainly leave Ibanez in at the end of games, unlike how he treated Burrell. And you're right, that should make Eric Bruntlett even more likely to be replaced...good eye.

If Bruntlett makes the team, he'll probably play infield exclusively.