After each season ends, I look forward to looking back at divisive players to see how they fared. I did so with Carlos Gomez a couple of weeks ago. Spoiler: the people who believed in him were right, and he looks like a perennial top 15 talent for the time being.
Josh Donaldson was another player that seemed to pit fantasy players against each other. I fell into the camp of “he’s legit,” but not because of my own research. Donaldson spoke at length throughout the season about his development as a hitter, and how not worrying about catching might have helped him finally reach his potential. Eno Sarris of Fangraphs also noted some changes to Donaldson’s approach, which ultimately ended up being career altering.
The book on Donaldson seemed to be: his power is probably legit, but his batting average and on-base skills seem ripe to take a step back; he’s probably more of a top-10/12 option at the hot corner than a top five one. That wasn’t far off, except for a few finer points, including Donaldson’s differing seasons within a season.
Donaldson’s monthly splits don’t look that different … until you get to June. After setting the entire planet on fire in April and May, he cratered in June, when his plate discipline, average, and power dissipated. He wasn’t fantastic in September, either, but his stretch run still paled in comparison to the depths of June.Read the rest of this article by logging in or purchasing The Fix's "Front Office" package.