It’s Wednesday. So that means I am here to talk about fantasy third basemen. I am going to go off-topic this week because I have been slammed with questions about “The Bringer of Rain”- Josh Donaldson and his fantasy value now that he is wearing pinstripes in New York.
The big righty slugger came over to the Yankees, along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, on Sunday in a big trade for Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela. Before the trade, Donaldson was already fantasy relevant and with the protection that he is going to get in this powerful Yankee lineup plus a park upgrade I would consider upgrading him in my drafts. He is currently around 193 ADP and the 19th third baseman going off the board while coming off a 2021 season where he hit .247/.352/.475 with a 124 wRC+. There was talk that 2021 was Donaldson’s worst offensive season in five years but he still hit 26 home runs with a .228 ISO, .353 wOBA, and 13.6% walk rate in 135 games. His fly-ball rate is back to 2016/17 numbers when he was going yard 30+ times in Toronto
So, will those 2021 numbers pop up this year? Donaldson has always had a good eye as evidenced by the .352 OBP because the walk rate is so high (13.6%). His plate discipline is excellent with a 21% strikeout rate on the season which is enormous when you get the pop that Donaldson brings and the K minus walk rate is phenomenal. His chase rate is one of the best in the American League at 22.6 and he puts the ball in the air- what we want from our power hitters. His K rate is trending down and if he can stay around that 20% mark and keep the fly ball rate around 28.5% as he did in 2021 then Donaldson will do some damage in the Bronx.
Now let’s compare Donaldson to the rest of the power hitters in the American League- his hard-hit rate per statcast is elite (top 20) as he hits the ball on the money 53% of the time (40% league average); his barrel rate is 17.4% (double the league average); his blast rate is 9% (more than double league average); his xwOBA is .385 and .465 xwOBA on contact is in the same group of players going in the first three rounds. Donaldson also posted an xSLG of .542 last season and his average exit velocity of 94.1 mph was the fourth highest in baseball, only behind Vlad Guerrero Jr and new teammates Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Injuries do tend to arise often for Donaldson. He did, though, play 92 games at third base with the Twins last year which was 68% of his overall appearances. He will always carry some risk but if he can play 135+ games at third and DH hitting between or around Judge and Stanton we could be looking at a top-5 value at third base. Josh Donaldson is still a solid draft pick in all formats in 2022.
Fantasy Baseball 2022
- MLB Free Agent Tracker
- First Baseman Fades
- Top-5 Sleepers: Second Baseman
- The Landscape of the 2B Position
- Preseason Rankings