As I mentioned yesterday the A’s depth has provided some interesting roster decisions so far this spring. Eric Sogard will potentially start Monday night at O.co Coliseum against the Seattle Mariners on opening night. Another unlikely utility infielder may make the roster as well due to an outstanding spring in Andy Parrino. With Adam Rosales and Hiroyuki Nakajima and Adam Rosales hurt coupled with the struggles and inexperience of Jemile Weeks, Scott Sizemore, and Grant Green, the A’s are going to have to use their depth much earlier than expected this season. However, another concern on the roster may arise that was not necessarily addressed this offseason by GM Billy Beane; third base.
Josh Donaldson, who was originally a catcher but moved over to third base for organizational depth purposes, took over at the hot corner for Oakland in the middle of last season after Brandon Inge was injured. He had been up earlier in the season for a short stint but due to a lack of production was sent back down relatively quickly. The next call up proved to be the catalyst as Donaldson took complete control both defensively and offensively for the rest of the season.
Last season was Donaldson’s first real taste of the big leagues and after a rough beginning he finally planted his feet in the ground and played up to his potential. He will be entering his sophomore season in 2013 and A’s fans should be cautious he does not fall into the Jemile Weeks sophomore slump trap.
Donaldson was extremely effective last season offensively. While he was not a force or an on base machine by any means he did hit nine home runs in a little under 300 plate appearances. He also tacked on 33 runs batted in and four stolen bases. His defense was spectacular at some points but lackluster at others. If he can work on his fundamentals and continue to develop he could become an above average third baseman defensively.
Donaldson will be an integral part in determining whether or not the A’s make the playoffs in 2013. He was a key contributor in the team last year that took the second half of the season by storm culminating in a sweep of the Texas Rangers in the final three games of the season to win the AL West title. He came through with clutch hits and great defensive plays. 2013 will go a long way in determining if Donaldson is the real deal or not. Sophomore slumps are a real thing. He will need to everything in his will power to fight it off or the Green and Gold may be on the outside looking in in October. Beane added depth at almost every position except for third base showing great confidence in Donaldson’s abilities. Hopefully that confidence from the organization will continue to translate into Donaldson’s success.