The big news for the Phillies in Arizona is Jason Donald's move to see some playing time at both third base and at second base. So far, the results are pretty good. He's made two errors at third, one on a bad throw and the other on a ground ball, but overall, the defensive results have been decent. He's played just part of one game at second, but looked relatively comfortable there as well. The Phillies are looking to Donald to learn third and second in hopes of making him more versatile and possibly finding a home for him in the big leagues either as a utility player or as a full-time third baseman.
Jeremy Slayden doesn't often show up on a lot of prospect radars, but he's someone to keep an eye on. The left-handed power-hitter has gone 5-for-14 (.357) over the last three games and is tied for the league lead in home runs and RBI. The 26 year old prospect hit .298 with 17 home runs at Double-A Reading this past season and will likely spend his 2009 playing at Triple-A with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Slayden struck out in 19% of his plate appearances last season and needs some work on his plate discipline, but with the numbers that he's putting up, the strike outs aren't a major issue for him. He could well be at least a fourth outfielder somewhere down the road and possibly even see some decent playing time depending on how he continues to develop. Think of him as another Jason Michaels type hitter, capable of helping a big league club.
In some of these shorter leagues, you really have to look past the primary stats to get a gauge on how a player is doing. Keep in mind that many of these players are being put into spots that they aren't necessarily used to, because teams are doing some experiments with them to see how they can handle certain situations. The fact that there aren't a lot of games also greatly affects stats. Tyson Brummett is a great example of this. His primary stats (0-2, 11.25) look pretty horrid, but when you dig a little deeper, there are some numbers to like. For instance, in three of his four outings, he's pitched pretty well. If you're willing to excuse one outing where he lasted just 2/3 of an inning and was hit for four earned runs, then his ERA would be 2.70 in the AFL. Look too at the fact that he's picked up four strikeouts in four innings of work and if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that 53% of the balls that have been hit off of him have been on the ground. Nice percentages for a reliever.
There's no denying that Sergio Escalona and Patrick Overholt have been the star pitchers from the Phillies contingent thus far. Both have done a nice job out of the Mesa bullpen.