Yankees’ Josh Donaldson is having the weirdest season ever

josh donaldson, yankees
Apr 1, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) hits a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite not matching his peak performance, Yankees‘ third baseman Josh Donaldson is recording some of the most robust slugging statistics of his career. In the span of 31 games, the veteran has managed to hit 10 home runs and contributed 15 RBIs.

However, Donaldson’s overall performance is tainted by a low .146 batting average, .222 OBP, and .469 slugging percentage. His struggle to consistently get on base and frequent strikeouts contrast sharply with his remarkable 51.5% hard-hit rate, 21.2% barrel rate, 92.5 average exit velocity, and 9.3° launch angle.

Simply put, Donaldson is hitting the ball with immense power, even if these efforts are not directly translating into victories.

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The Trade-off: Quality Contact for Home Runs

The debate continues regarding whether sacrificing a higher on-base percentage and quality contact for home runs is a wise strategy. Yet, Donaldson’s situation presents an interesting case. Of his 15 hits this season, a remarkable 10 have been impressive homers soaring into the stands.

The Impact of Injuries: Donaldson’s Season On- and Off-field

Considering his performance, if Donaldson were to participate in a full 162-game season, he’d be on track to hit close to 52 home runs. However, injuries have already disrupted his season, and his varying performance has necessitated the Yankees’ management to divide playing time among other players.

Management’s Faith: Boone and Cashman’s Strategy for Donaldson

Despite the challenges, manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman remain committed to assigning Donaldson a significant workload, holding onto the hope that he can recapture some of his earlier career success.

Searching for a Contribution: The 37-year-old Veteran’s Struggle

Unfortunately, at the age of 37, Donaldson is grappling to find any additional contributions. Although he has rediscovered his slugging stroke, his overall performance is still detracting from the team’s strategy.