Scouting Report: Jason Donald

Acquired from Philadelphia as part of the Cliff Lee trade in 2009, Jason Donald has apparently rediscovered the stroke that made him a top prospect.  He hit just .238 with 2 HR and 8 SB for three different minor league teams in ’09, but has looked solid at Triple-A in ’10, posting the following line:

137 At Bats
.277 Batting Average (38 Hits)
2 Home Runs
17 RBI
27 Runs
10 Stolen Bases
.396 On Base Percentage
.423 Slugging Percentage
.353 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The BABIP is a bit on the higher side, but it is not completely unsustainable.  Should you expect it?  No, especially in the major leagues, but you cannot say that it would be impossible.  Of course, you would expect that type of number from someone with immense speed, which isn’t necessarily the case here.

While Donald has already stolen 10 bases, he entered the year with just 35 for his minor league career.  In fact, his career high is just 11, which he did twice (in 213 AB in Single-A and in 362 AB in Double-A). 

Prior to the 2009 season, Baseball America, who ranked him fourth among Phillies prospects (behind Dominic Brown, Carlos Carrasco & Lou Marson) said this about his speed:

“He’s a solid, smart runner with an average arm. He prepares well and has excellent work habits.”

That certainly doesn’t sound like someone who is going to tear up the base paths, does it?

Something that is concerning is his strikeout rate.  He has struck out 33 times at Triple-A, good for a 24.1% rate.  Before we say that it’s an aberration, last season he was at 25.7%.  Upon reaching the major leagues, the chances are his strikeouts will increase slightly.

Considering that he’s not a power hitter (29 HR over 1,334 minor league at bats prior to ‘10), the strikeouts are a huge concern.  Granted, he does have a good eye at the plate (13.3% walk rate), so he’s going to get on base and have a chance to make things happen.  Unfortunately, if he’s not hitting at or near the top of the Indians order, being on base a lot may not mean much.  It’s not an exceptionally deep lineup.

So, what exactly do we have:

  • A player with a little bit of power
  • An average that is likely going to struggle, thanks to a fall in BABIP and an increase in strikeouts
  • Average speed
  • Potential for a few runs

This sounds like a must own fantasy option, doesn’t it?  There have been a rash of injuries to middle infielders, so if you are desperate I could see using him in the short-term, especially if he’s hot.  Otherwise, I’m just not seeing a player with significant fantasy value.

What about you?  Is Donald someone you think could have value?  Why or why not?

To read the previous article, click here.

For more looks at prospects, you can check out the following articles:

3 comments

  1. El Burro says:

    HEY RP:

    nice post. Quick question — you heard anything regarding Madison Bumgarner getting called up in June?

    Wellermeyer Wiener isnt doing anything special to date:
    2-3, 5.25 era, 1.42 whip, 25 ks in 36 ip. hardly impressive.

    Bumgarner been lights out in last 2 starts. 2 wins, 0.75 era, 1.0 whip, 13ks in 13 ip. Im getting horny for Madison.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    I have not heard anything specific on Bumgarner, but I would have to imagine that he’s not far away. Once he’s up, he’s a must own, so if you are in need of pitching in a deeper league, I’d stash him now.

    As you said, it’s only a matter of time before Wellemeyer gets replaced.

  3. El Burro says:

    Agreed.

    Thanks, I grabbed in my 14 team mixed league – dropped Masterson.

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