The season is bearing down on us, so it’s time for a roundup of where some hitting prospects stand in their attempts to make Opening Day rosters across baseball.
Josh Donaldson, A’s 3B/C
In the wake of the season-ending injury to Scott Sizemore, the former catcher has been getting plenty of time at the hot corner as the A’s try to address the position internally. The results have been a bit of a mixed bag on both offense and defense. While a .231/.293/.288 line and 3 errors wouldn’t be enough to win a job under normal circumstances, Donaldson should probably get the opportunity to break camp with the big league club and may even start a game or two at third base when the A’s head to Japan for the start of the 2012 regular season next Wednesday. If the 26-year-old is catcher-eligible in a deep AL-only league that requires two backstops, he’s an intriguing option.
Eric Sogard, A’s INF
If anyone is going to muck up Donaldson’s chances, it’s the 25-year-old Sogard, as Mr. Cistulli recently noted. With limited speed and pop, he’s a Four-A profile, or perhaps a second-division utility player, but he has always shown the ability to get on base (.380 career). Sogard has stood out this spring for the talent-depleted A’s, though: .341 BA and a 4:5 K:BB, and he’s even hit a pair of homers. Hurting for a backup infielder in AL play who could gain eligibility at second, short and third? Sogard might not be the worst option.
Freddy Galvis, Phillies INF
With news that Chase Utley is expected to miss the outset of the season and utility man Michael Martinez has a fractured foot, Galvis is practically the last man standing at second in Phillies camp. He’s not really ready for the bigs just yet — a full season at Triple-A would be good for the 22-year-old — but the shortstop has the glove to handle second base on a temporary basis. If he can get on base enough during the first couple weeks, it’s not impossible that he could swipe a few bases and score some runs as an NL middle infield reserve. But the likelihood is he’ll be back to the minors once Utley is ready. Or if the Phillies decide to trade for some infield depth.
Tyler Pastornicky, Braves SS
So maybe the Braves should’ve considered more proven alternatives at shortstop after all? After Atlanta failed to bring in any legitimate veteran options over the winter, Pastornicky, 22, was thrown to the fire. His spring hasn’t gone well at all at the dish — 7 for 44 (.159) — and that’s always been the biggest concern in his game. But he’s also made a team-worst 3 errors, too. About the only good thing going for Pastornicky is that his only competition is Andrelton Simmons, who also isn’t hitting (.206) and has never played above A-ball. Pastornicky still probably gets the job at the end of the month, but he’ll need to prove he’s at least capable of doing something on O and not hurting the team on D. And soon. Tough to rely on him as anything more than a reserve, even in the deepest NL-only formats.
Jordan Pacheco, Rockies C/INF
Pacheco, 26, is valuable for three primary reasons: 1) He’s versatile, able to handle catcher, third base, first base and even second in a pinch; 2) he’s a good contact hitter (10% career K rate), which will play up a bit at Coors; and 3) he’s in very good position to make the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher and otherwise fill-in specialist. New Rockie Ramon Hernandez is ancient (35) and hasn’t played in more than 97 games since 2008, so Pacheco — who owns a career 303/.377/.426 slash line — could accrue 250-350 ABs while handling multiple roles. Consider him a sneaky second catcher in NL leagues.