(Photo Credit: REUTERS/KEVIN JAIRAJ)
Many Blue Jays fans are ecstatic to hear Josh Donaldson was activated off the 10-day disabled list after missing nearly a month due to shoulder inflammation, and the Blue Jays couldn’t be happier to have their All-Star third-baseman back in the lineup, and here’s why.
A hot bat
Donaldson’s “dead arm” never seemed to play a factor in his swing because despite a slow start to the season, Donaldson was heating up at the plate before being sidelined. The Blue Jays’ third baseman slugged three home runs with nine RBI and a .239 average in ten games since a 0-7 start to the season. Donaldson also offers a dangerous presence at the plate that could benefit other Blue Jays batters such as Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak, who was placed on the paternity list as a corresponding move for Donaldson’s activation.
A winning mentality
When Donaldson hit the DL on April 13, the Blue Jays had a record of 9-5 while sitting second in the American League East. During his time away, the Blue Jays put together a record of 8-8, totaling for a record of 17-13 and now sit third in the division behind the Boston Red Sox and the hot New York Yankees. It’s safe to say Donaldson, a former AL MVP, has brought a winning mentality to the team dating back to 2015 when he first joined the club. The Blue Jays have a combined record of 258-228, and that’s including a rather disappointing 2017 campaign in which they finished with a 76-86 record.
A team leader
Every team has their captain, their leader at the top of the totem pole. The Baltimore Orioles have Adam Jones. The Seattle Mariners have Robinson Cano. The Blue Jays have Donaldson. One of the more experienced players on the roster at 32 years of age and eight years of MLB service time, Donaldson offers leadership and a mentor for the Jays ‘ core of younger players featuring Aledmys Diaz, Teoscar Hernandez and, of course, the prospects that have everyone’s heads turning in Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
A steady glove
Forget the whole “dead arm” thing for a second because Josh Donaldson offers one of the most steady gloves in the game. When he mans the hot corner, balls rarely get by down the third base line. In his three full seasons with the Blue Jays, Donaldson has an average fielding percentage of .967 and has only committed 46 errors over the three campaigns at third base. He holds a career defensive runs saved (DRS) of 54 at the position, as well as a career UZR of 29.8. Donaldson has also had his share of highlight reel plays. Don’t believe it? Just take a look at some of these plays from his 2016 season:
So we all know Donaldson has a great glove and can keep the ball in the infield. The real question is this: is his arm strong enough to throw the ball across the infield consistently?
One thing is for certain, the Blue Jays are getting back a precious asset in their lineup and in the field. Donaldson will bat second and man the hot corner in game one of the Blue Jays' doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians today, and not a moment too soon.
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