What a difference a year makes. What a difference one hot streak can make in changing a players approach and eventual production. One position change created the opportunity. One minor swing adjustment turned the opportunity into reality. All positive things are seemingly converging for Josh Donaldson at the same time, and the right time for the Green and Gold. What chapter should come next in the season and career of Donaldson? Obviously a trip to Queens, New York and Citi Field would be an acceptable answer. If things go right JD may just have that chance.
In the 2011 offseason the A’s decided to move Donaldson from catcher to third base because they needed depth at the hot corner. While results were mixed early on the A’s were determined to keep Donaldson at third and hope he found his way to the big leagues. His bat at Triple-A Sacramento paved way for him to reach Oakland early on in the 2012 season. Unfortunately, his offense and defense struggled and he was sent back down to Triple-A Sacramento.
When Donaldson was recalled he brought with him a fire, a quicker swing, and a better glove. He instantly got hot and never seemed to slow down through the stretch run that ultimately led into an A’s AL West championship. His confidence soared leading into the offseason. He knew he was going to be the A’s starting third baseman going into 2013. He probably didn’t know the success he had at the end of 2012 would almost look like scuffling compared to the beginning of 2013.
Donaldson has begun the year offensively as follows:.324 batting average, .397 on base percentage, and a .553 slugging percentage. In simpler terms here’s how those stats rank (in all of MLB): 15th in batting average, 13th in on base percentage, and 16th in slugging percentage. Out of eligible third basemen he ranks in the top 3 in all of those categories. In the simplest of terms for baseball fans, the only third baseman that has been better offensively so far in 2013 is reigning Triple Crown and MVP winner Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.
Defensively Donaldson blows Cabrera out of the water. Donaldson ranks in the top 10 in defense while Cabrera sits in the bottom 20 to 30. Donaldson has made some incredible plays this season while also making the majority of the fundamental ones. His glove has saved the A’s countless runs and has put them in a situation where pitchers feel comfortable pitching to contact against right-handed hitters.
Who should start the All-Star game at third base for the American League? At this point the situation probably sounds familiar. Last year Cabrera and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Mike Trout battled to the very end for the MVP crown. The award eventually landed with Cabrera primarily due to the fact he won the Triple Crown, which had not been won in decades. Trout brought a better overall game to the table and meant more to his team.
Josh Donaldson has played out of his mind so far in 2013. His defense has not only improved but become great. His offense has continued to improve and at this point in the season has been elite. He is being mentioned in the conversation along side Miguel Cabrera so obviously he is doing something right. Josh Donaldson should start at third base for the American League at the All-Star Game in 2013 at Citi Field. His offense and defense have put him in a position where he deserves the title of All-Star. He may not get the votes, but he deserves the nod.