2013 Phillies Report Card: John McDonald
John McDonald was emblematic of the type of role players the Phillies tried so hard to succeed with in 2013. No one was truly versatile; they had one strength if any at all, and several glaring weaknesses. John Mayberry can hit lefties but not much else. Kevin Frandsen can hit for average and not much else. Freddy Galvis can’t hit but can play superb defense. Laynce Nix didn’t do anything at all. Roger Bernadina hit under .200 but played adequate defense. Casper Wells was abominable. Pete Orr, nothing. Ezequiel Carrera, nothing.
And then there’s allpro John McDonald. The Phillies picked him up from the Cleveland Indians at the end of June, using him mostly on the left side of the infield, but in an 18-inning affair against the Arizona Diamondbacks, they even had him play in left field and pitch. As was his reputation, with a career .572 OPS, he didn’t hit worth a damn. In 25 trips to the plate, he had a .174/.208/.304 line, though he did hit a homer, the 28th of his career, in a 12-1 blowout of the Cubs. I still don’t believe it, but video doesn’t lie:
Defensively, the sample was far too small to give him anything but a general thumbs up in his direction. It’s hard to get a feel for much of anything in 70 defensive innings. But he has a reputation as a very good defender and did get to show that off a few times in his brief stint in Philadelphia, helping to turn a few nifty double plays.
Overall, McDonald didn’t really help in the grand scheme of things — both a combination of his relative lack of overall playing time, and the fact that his poor offense weighed down anything he did with the glove. Some day in the not-too-distant future, he will be a name you might cite in a game of “Name that Obscure Phillie”. There were a ton of them in 2013, a direct result of the Phillies organization’s lack of planning and poor player evaluation.
I gave McDonald a D- for his time with the Fightins. He posted a .513 OPS. That’s not quite Michael Martinez-level bad, but it’s darn close. I’ll can put up with a lack of offense but more in the .650 OPS range like Freddy Galvis — if you can field like a Gold Glover, that is. Hopefully, going forward, GM Ruben Amaro finds legitimate players to populate the bench, who can reliably sub in for a regular should the need arise. Otherwise, we could see someone like Elliot Johnson or Brent Lillibridge as the next in the line of no-bat back-up infielders.
McDonald’s grades from the rest of the Crashburn crew: