When looking at overall statistics, Josh Donaldson’s numbers do not jump out. However, he has quietly been productive since the beginning of August. How much should Yankees fans expect from him for the rest of the season and playoffs? Let’s get into it.
Donaldson’s wRC+ for the full season is at 101, but it is 120 since August 1st. It’s never wise to look into these types of statistics without putting context behind them.
Donaldson posted a 146 wRC+ in May. He suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on the IL on May 27th. Here are the numbers for him every month since then:
June: 70 wRC+
July: 62 wRC+
August: 120 wRC+
September: 120 wRC+
The bad months coincide directly with his injury. I’m not ready to say that all of the bad performance was due to him dealing with a bad shoulder, but it’s pretty clear that it played a part in it. If Donaldson truly has found himself, he can be a really valuable player for the Yankees down the stretch.
While the Yankees are getting healthy again and should have most of their ideal lineup back soon, they could use as much help on offense as possible. There is no certainty that Andrew Benintendi or Matt Carpenter will come back at any point this season. DJ LeMahieu should return at some point, but we don’t know if he will return to 100%. He struggled mightily before going on the IL due to a toe injury.
Not only would Donaldson provide a much-needed threat at the plate, but he brings elite defense. He has 9 defensive runs saved and 7 outs above average (95th percentile in MLB). When the Yankees were winning at a historic rate, many pointed to the improvements on the defensive side of the ball. Donaldson has been a big part of that all season.
The only reason Donaldson wouldn’t be the third baseman for the playoffs is if Oswald Peraza was playing shortstop and the Yankees wanted to go with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third base. It’s clear the Yankees have no plans to give Oswald Peraza a major role at the moment. Donaldson is easily the best option at the hot corner knowing this information.
Who knows what Donaldson’s future will be after the season, but he can contribute a lot to a potential playoff run.
Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images