Josh “En Fuego” Donaldson
By Andrew Brown
Last season the Oakland A’s used five different third basemen last season including: Brandon Inge, Luke Hughes, Eric Sogard, Adam Rosales, and Josh Donaldson. Hughes, Sogard, and Rosales were temporary fill-ins. Brandon Inge was signed from the Detroit Tigers and started there for a good chunk of the season after Donaldson was sent down due to work on his hitting. After Inge got hurt Donaldson was again handed the reins to the hot corner and this time he didn’t let the opportunity slip. The last couple months of the season saw Donaldson catch fire not only with his bat but with his glove as well making some spectacular plays at third. He was a key part in clutch offense that helped lead the A’s to the AL West championship.
Apr 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics infielder Josh Donaldson (20) hits an RBI single against the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Now it is 2013. And Donaldson has picked up right where he left off. After two weeks of struggling at the plate Donaldson has again caught fire with multi hit games in half of his multi hit games coming in the last week including a four hit game against the Baltimore Orioles. He is hitting .319 with a .394 on base percentage and is slugging at a .911 clip. While it is only the first month of the season there is reason to believe can continue his success, not necessarily at the same rate, but definitely improve last season’s numbers.
From what I can tell Donaldson has made an adjustment to his swing. He has moved his hands back and higher than he used to. This causes his hands to drop straight into the zone smoothly and efficiently. At the beginning of last season Donaldson struck out a lot especially on fastballs. This was because he had a long loopy swing that caused him to be late to the ball with his bat even if his hands were on time.
On top of this Donaldson seems even more comfortable at third base. Last season was a transition year for him as he was moved from catcher to third. The organization felt it had enough depth at catcher and not enough at third. They did not want to keep Donaldson’s bat at Sacramento so they made the switch and so far it has paid major dividends. After spending an entire year there last season and knowing the job is his outright this year has proven to be a major confidence booster for Donaldson.
The A’s have another diamond in the rough with Donaldson. They continue to polish him and things keep getting better. The A’s need production from the corners and in Donaldson they have not missed yet.