Some off day discussion, from The Baseball Analysts blog today;
Jamie D'Antona is hitting .430 for Arizona's Tucson affiliate in the Pacific Coast League (AAA). Yes, FOUR THIRTY.YEAR G AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG
2008 40 142 61 17 0 6 3 19 .430 .445 .676
Primarily a third baseman, D'Antona has also played first base and catcher this year. At worst, he profiles as a backup corner infielder and emergency catcher for a major league team. A second-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2003, D'Antona led the short-season Northwest League with 15 home runs that summer, then hit .315/.353/.531 in a half-season at high Class A Lancaster in 2004. Promoted to AA, he struggled (.211/.233/.282 in 73 plate appearances) for the first time, showed minimal progress (.249/.322/.385) at the same level in 2005, repeated at Tennessee as a 24-year-old in 2006 and rebounded to hit over .300 with 17 HR.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound free swinger moved up to AAA last season and put up an .861 OPS. Blocked by Mark Reynolds and Conor Jackson, he returned to Tucson and is drawing more attention than walks for his eye-opening batting average. However, D'Antona is hitting .470 on balls in play in a favorable ballpark and league environment. I think he is a tweener but, in light of the fact that journeymen Luis Maza and Terry Tiffee are also hitting over .400 in the PCL, I would discount D'Antona's batting average quite a bit and classify him more as a suspect than a prospect at this point.
I have heard some mention on here about D'Antona as a possible long term replacement for Hudson, not because he can actually play 2B but because of that crazy BA this year in AAA. As the article points out, he's got a .470 BABIP and plays in an incredibly favorable park and league, so I think people are getting a little too excited about his bat. It probably will not be good enough to make up for a complete lack of defensive ability (or at least experience) at 2B.
What do others here think? Is he a legitimate big league slugger in waiting, a guy we need to find a spot for? From people who have actually seen him play a decent amount, is there any chance he can handle 2B, or is he too slow/unathletic/whatever?