It was November 26, 2018, when the Braves brought rain to the city of Atlanta…23 million dollars worth on a 1-year bounceback deal. Josh Donaldson was everything the Braves could’ve hoped for in their 23 million dollar investment: healthy, productive, and cocky enough to bring the end to the old Braves way and usher in a new exciting form of baseball that challenges other teams mentalities.
My, How the Turntables
On April 11th, 2019, a mere 12 games into his season, Josh Donaldson was not putting up the stats of a player who put up gaudy numbers with the Blue Jays prior to a combination of heel, calf, and shoulder injuries robbed a full season of games from him between 2017 and 2018. He was carrying a .570 OPS, but it was a fluke .570. He was smashing the ball, but Donaldson, who was a bit of a pioneer in the launch angle revolution, was having groundball tendencies. Yeah…that didn’t last long. Fangraphs points to a split from 6/1, but I’m of full belief that it changed much earlier than that. From April 12th through the end of the month, Donaldson destroyed baseballs: 17 hits, 5 doubles, 5 home runs, and a 1.141 OPS and he was having no problem elevating the ball.
Hey Everyone! Jump on My Back!
From April 12th through season’s end, JD put up a .925 OPS that was carried largely by his 30 doubles, 37 HRs and a whopping 97 walks. He went through huge stretches where he simply carried the team.
July 3-15: Braves won 8 of 9 and Josh carried a 1.324 OPS
August 17-25: Braves won 8 straight and Josh carried a 1.033 OPS
August 30-September 7: Braves won 8 straight games and Josh carried a 1.472 OPS
Must be Turkey Season because Josh is a Gobbler!
Defensively, Josh Donaldson was as good as he’s ever been with +15 defensive runs saved, and I believe he earned every bit of that. His range might be the one thing that’s lacking from his Oakland days, but range at 3B isn’t near as important as instinct, reaction, and arm strength, and he’s still checks all those boxes.
Ryan Cothran, MLB Conspirator
I have a theory. A theory that I think has a large chance of happening and happening very early into the offseason. The Braves will offer Josh Donaldson a qualifying offer. This is about as much of a guarantee as raspberries going rotten the day after I purchase them. However, I think it’s just going to be a favor to Donaldson. Naturally, he’ll decline it, and I think the next step is he re-signs with the Braves. I put up a piece a while back regarding this theory and what I thought it might take to secure him: 3/81. In my opinion, that would get it done and we as Braves fans sure do need him to keep bringing rain through 2022.