The New York Yankees possess a deep roster of infielders, which has mitigated the impact of Josh Donaldson’s absence. After only five games into the season, Donaldson was sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
Despite attempting to make a comeback during a rehab assignment several weeks later, he struggled to make substantial progress.
Donaldson was slated to engage in “intense baseball activities” during an earlier rehab stint this month, but unfortunately, he encountered an unexpected setback unrelated to his hamstring injury.
“Josh Donaldson had a minor setback: he sliced his thumb while putting together something at home. He and Giancarlo Stanton are now on similar timetables to return.”Per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com
The Yankees are preparing for reinforcements:
Now expected to be out for a few more weeks, his return may coincide with Giancarlo Stanton’s.
Stanton, a veteran outfielder for the Yankees, is also recuperating from a hamstring injury. He is preparing for a possible rehab assignment in the near future, which would significantly bolster the team’s batting order.
Nevertheless, there is a compelling argument that the Yankees might be better off without Donaldson. His performance this year, over 17 at-bats, has been underwhelming, with a .125 batting average, a .176 on-base percentage (OBP), and a 29 wRC+.
Last season, Donaldson posted a .222 average with a .308 OBP across 132 games, contributing 15 home runs and 62 RBIs. He achieved the highest strikeout rate of his career at 27.1% and recorded a sub-double-digit walk rate for the first time since 2012.
In Donaldson’s absence, the Yankees have heavily depended on DJ LeMahieu to cover third base. This season, DJ has a .270 batting average and a .342 OBP, which includes five home runs and 18 RBIs. In defense, he has maintained a .985 fielding percentage, committing only one error over 226.1 innings.
In an objective analysis, LeMahieu is a superior player to Donaldson at this stage of their respective careers and deserves regular appearances at third base.
Should Donaldson reclaim his starting position, it could negatively impact the Yankees this season, as they need to enhance their offense rather than impair their production with increased strikeout rates.