Josh Donaldson had a rocky start to his Braves tenure. However, the former AL MVP starting to round into form now. Can Braves fans start to believe in the slugger now?
Josh Donaldson had a home stand to remember, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for him. Before the ten game homestand, Braves fans were calling for a trade, or the very least his benching in favor of Austin Riley. A combination of Donaldson’s big price tag and Riley’s stellar play made Braves fans impatient when it came to Donaldson’s production. But as of today, no Braves fan should be calling for Donaldson to be pulled out the lineup.
In the last two weeks, which would be 13 games, Donaldson has hit .308 with 6 home runs and 11 RBI. In the previous 62 games, he had only hit 8 home runs. That kind of power explosion is what the Braves, and Donaldson, have been looking for since the third baseman signed his one-year deal with the team. It’s been a slow and steady climb to get to this point for Donaldson. On June 6th, his batting average was at .237. As of today, June 20th, Donaldson has raised his batting average to .260, which is closer to his career batting average of .274.
This shouldn’t come as much of a shock, to the Braves fans who have been watching Donaldson play this season. He has consistently hit the ball hard since the season started, just not out of the ballpark, like he has this week. According to the team’s WAR, wins above replacement, Donaldson has the 4th highest at 1.8. That number would slot Donaldson behind only three players, Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Mike Soroka. However, Donaldson has outperformed players like Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Max Fried. It’s not nearly as bad as some Braves fans would have you believe.
I can understand the impenitence some fans will have for their favorite sports teams. We have all been there before. Hopefully, this stretch of baseball will buy Josh Donaldson a little equity with the Braves fans if he hits another slow patch. Braves fans have gotten to witness what this offense is capable of when they have Acuna, Swanson, Freeman, Donaldson, Riley, Albies, and McCann or Flowers going. It’s special. This team needs Donaldson’s bat and production in the lineup if they want to compete with the likes of the Dodgers and Brewers. And the way this team has looked lately, the could be the best team in all of baseball.