Every MLB season has a player that flies under the radar more than most. Sometimes it’s a pitcher that has a surprisingly low ERA or a hitter that has blasted home-runs on a nightly basis. Very rarely do you get a young player that does everything right and still doesn’t get noticed by most fans. This year, that player has been Josh Donaldson.
We always talk about guys like Evan Longoria and Manny Machado as being the best young third-basemen on the diamond, but Donaldson has to be in the talks. He is swinging a red-hot bat that is showing up most veterans in the league. This might only be his first season where he plays every night, but Donaldson has proved that the Oakland Athletics have a great star playing the hot-corner.
The 27-year old from Pensacola currently has a .317 batting average, a number that ranks second among all third-basemen in the MLB behind no other than Miguel Cabrera. He is tied for second in the same group of players with Mark Reynolds knocking in 42 RBI’s, again behind Cabrera. He isn’t known as being a power-hitting guy at the dish, but he has hit nine home-runs for the A’s.
We like to look at the “marquee statistics”, but if you watch him every game you’ll see some impressive things. He is hitting .358 against left-handed pitching, making him a must-play whenever Oakland faces a southpaw. Even more remarkable, the red-hot star is batting .361 with nine doubles and 36 RBI’s when runners are on base. He might not be well-known yet, but he is surely helping the Athletics win ball games!
Donaldson hadn’t had much experience in the big leagues before this year as he didn’t play until August of 2012. When Brandon Inge went down with an arm injury, Donaldson had to come in and fill the void by being the every-day third baseman. He proved to the team that he was a younger and maybe even a better option.
With the All-Star Game inching closer, fans in Oakland are making a big push for Donaldson to get voted as a backup third baseman. While it might be tough to get there with an elite group of guys in front of him, the most surprising player in Oakland this year is certainly helping his case every night!