Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson
33-Year-Old Third Baseman3B
Atlanta Braves
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Donaldson finished as one of 2018's biggest busts. In his age-32 season, he missed 18 games with shoulder inflammation (which hindered throws from third base) before a calf injury sidelined him from May 28 to Sept. 11 -- he returned to major-league competition days after Toronto traded him to Cleveland. His contact percentage tanked while his Statcast barrel rate dropped from a handy 8.7% in 2017 to a worrisome 6.4%. Keep in mind, however, that he's just one season removed from a .944 OPS, 33-homer effort. Further, he still walked in 14.2% of his plate appearances last year and rattled off a .396 wOBA in 60 September plate appearances. The Bringer of Rain landed with the Braves on a one-year deal in November, and while that means he won't have the luxury of DHing on occasion, he will be hitting in the heart of a strong lineup. Just plan for more off days than most heart-of-the-order bats if you target him as a bargain run producer. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $23 million contract with the Braves in November of 2018.
Expected to bat second
3BAtlanta Braves
December 5, 2018
The Braves are anticipating Donaldson hitting second in the order during the 2019 season, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
Per O'Brien, Ronald Acuna will sit atop the order or man the cleanup spot while Freddie Freeman hits third. Ozzie Albies and Ender Inciarte are also under consideration to bat leadoff. Prior to Donaldson's injury-plagued 2018 campaign, he slashed .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and 78 RBI in 2017. The Braves are obviously betting on Donaldson staying healthy and returning to that form after signing him to a one-year, $23 million deal. Donaldson is in line to be the club's everyday third baseman while Johan Camargo takes on a utility role to begin the year.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .963 328 49 20 49 2 .276 .396 .566
Since 2016vs Right .915 1087 168 58 151 9 .272 .387 .528
2018vs Left .900 68 11 3 9 1 .276 .382 .517
2018vs Right .756 151 19 5 14 1 .233 .338 .419
2017vs Left 1.051 100 15 10 21 0 .271 .380 .671
2017vs Right .917 396 50 23 57 2 .270 .386 .530
2016vs Left .932 160 23 7 19 1 .279 .413 .519
2016vs Right .960 540 99 30 80 6 .286 .401 .558
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .929 697 107 39 99 7 .274 .391 .539
Since 2016Away .923 718 110 39 101 4 .272 .388 .535
2018Home .768 117 16 4 8 2 .238 .342 .426
2018Away .839 102 14 4 15 0 .256 .363 .477
2017Home .901 229 25 14 33 0 .260 .380 .521
2017Away .981 267 40 19 45 2 .278 .390 .592
2016Home 1.004 351 66 21 58 5 .297 .414 .590
2016Away .902 349 56 16 41 2 .272 .394 .509
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Stat Review
How does Josh Donaldson compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
While most of Toronto's bats languished in 2017, Donaldson only noticed a minor dip in performance once he shook off an early-season calf injury, which cost him about six weeks. After struggling initially upon his return, Donaldson found his swing in the second half, ranking fifth in baseball with a 160 wRC+ after the All-Star break while swatting 24 home runs and reaching base at a .386 clip. The lack of production around Donaldson still proved costly, however, particularly in the runs category, where his total dropped from 122 in 2016 to 65 in 2017. The Blue Jays' aging offensive nucleus makes it unlikely that Donaldson will hit the lofty heights in runs and RBI he reached in 2015 and 2016, but the 32-year-old remains one of the game's premier power bats, even in an era of rising home-run outputs. There is still a lot to like here, though his team context probably takes Donaldson out of the first-round conversation.
Donaldson's 2016 season wasn't as productive as his 2015 MVP campaign, but he still returned first-round value. Playing through nagging injuries all year, the third baseman managed the second-most runs (122) and walks (109) in the league while ranking in the top five for slugging percentage (.549) and OPS (.953). When evaluating Donaldson's 2016, it's important to recognize that some numbers dipped primarily because he was pitched around. The 30-year-old had only 11 fewer plate appearances than the previous season, but 43 less at-bats. He demonstrated incredible plate discipline with a 0.9 BB/K and 15.6 percent walk rate. Although ailments popped up throughout the season, he managed to never miss an extended period of time, and none of the injuries should linger into 2017. He is in the prime of his career, and could once again be a MVP candidate in 2017.
Donaldson earned his first American League MVP award behind a brilliant season in Toronto, in which he set career highs in home runs (41), runs scored (122), RBI (123), and OPS (.939). The move from Oakland's cavernous coliseum to the homer-happy Rogers Centre led to by far the best power production of Donaldson's career. Donaldson was a fine .263/.343/.487 hitter on the road, but he hit a blistering .330/.398/.647 in Canada, where he clubbed 24 of his 41 homers. Donaldson has been a great hitter for a few years now — since 2005, only three players have multiple seasons of 20 home runs for Oakland: Jack Cust, Brandon Moss, and Donaldson. In other words, even though Donaldson had a career year, it wasn't that far above what we already knew he could do. He will be the engine in the Blue Jays' lineup again next year, and there is no reason he can't repeat this effort.
There was much discussion last offseason as to whether Donaldson's 2013 season was a fluke, but after a second straight year of finishing in the top-10 of the AL MVP vote, it is pretty clear that Donaldson is here to stay. Donaldson improved on his power stats with 29 homers and 98 RBI, but the one black eye on his season was his large drop in batting average. After a sparkling .301 in 2013, Donaldson managed to only hit .255 in 2014. This drop can be attributed to a horrific slump from early June until the All-Star break where Donaldson hit .158 over a 133 at-bat stretch that was spurred by a ridiculously low .165 BABIP. His overall BABIP fell from .333 in 2013 to .278 in 2014. Traded to the Blue Jays in late November, Donaldson will move into a more hitter-friendly environment and an excellent lineup, which could further bolster his counting stats – particularly in the power categories – in 2015.
Donaldson was one of the breakout stars in all of baseball last year, hitting .301 with 24 homers and 93 RBI, finishing fourth in the AL MVP race and serving as the MVP for many fantasy owners who drafted him very late or added him early in the season as a free agent. Donaldson came on strong at the end of 2012 (a second-half OPS of .844) and carried that success into 2013. He was strong all season and only had one month (July) where he slumped, and he went on to finish the season in the top 10 in the AL in slugging, on-base percentage and OPS. Donaldson will hit in the middle of the order for the A's in 2014 and should be one of the top offensive third basemen in the league. For those who think last year was a fluke, thank them for passing on Donaldson, grab him in your league, and enjoy the production.
Donaldson was one of many interesting stories from the 2012 A's season. He began spring training as a catcher, but after Scott Sizemore tore his ACL on Day 1 of the camp, he was converted to third base. Initially, he struggled mightily at the plate while hitting .153 with one homer over 100 plate appearances, and was sent down to Triple-A. After Brandon Inge got hurt, Donaldson was called up and hit for a much better slash line of .290/.356/.489 over his final 176 at-bats and helped a number of fantasy teams who were able to use him as a catcher. A's general manager Billy Beane said that Sizemore would be moving to second base in 2013, which is a great sign that Donaldson will be the starter at third base on Opening Day.
Donaldson saw both his power and patience dip at Triple-A Sacramento, though 17 homers and 51 walks in 444 at-bats is far from terrible. His has no real role as long as Kurt Suzuki racks up 135-game campaigns as the A's catcher, despite a similar skill set, with Suzuki under contract through at least 2013. With Scott Sizemore suffering a torn ACL early in spring training, Donaldson will likely become a factor in the playing time battle at third base in Oakland. He offers a combo of moderate power and speed, and could provide an endgame option for AL-only and deep mixed formats if he wins the job.
Donaldson had 18 homers and 45 walks in just 294 at-bats at Triple-A Sacramento, though his season pales a bit upon initial inspection thanks to a .238 average. He's pretty well blocked in Oakland however with Kurt Suzuki locked up through 2013 this past summer.
Donaldson entered the 2008 season as a solid catching prospect, but was dealt to the A's as part of the Rich Harden deal after a terrible start to year (.217/.276/.349) at Low-A Peoria in the Cubs' system. He revived his prospect status once in the Oakland chain, hitting .330/.391/.564 at High-A Stockton in 188 at-bats before a decent showing in the Arizona Fall League (.288/.315/.452). He played exclusively at first base in the AFL, but Phoenix already had three catchers rostered so it's unclear if it's a permanent move from out behind the plate. He'll need to hit well at Double-A Midland, and stay behind the plate, before we can gauge his long-term fantasy potential.
More Fantasy News
Inks deal with Atlanta
3BAtlanta Braves
November 26, 2018
Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million contract with the Braves on Monday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
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Homers, doubles in rout
3BCleveland Indians
September 28, 2018
Donaldson went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, four RBI and two runs in Friday's 14-6 victory over the Royals.
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Collects three hits
3BCleveland Indians
September 27, 2018
Donaldson went 3-for-4 on Thursday against the Royals.
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Reaches base four times
3BCleveland Indians
September 26, 2018
Donaldson went 0-for-1 with four walks and a run scored in Wednesday's win over the White Sox.
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Hits bench Monday
3BCleveland Indians
September 24, 2018
Donaldson is not in the lineup Monday against the White Sox, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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