Braves One Year Wonder, Josh Donaldson aka The Bringer of Rain. Fresh in our minds, the fact of him now being a one-year wonder may sting a bit if the season ever gets started. As the Braves reminisced on a 2018 season that seemingly exceeded everyoneâ€™s expectations, they knew a move had to be made. On November 26th, 2018, the Braves signed Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal with high hopes and star aspirations. Rob wrote about the signing here.
The Back of His Baseball Card
The week before the 2019 season got under way, Donaldson brought hope to many with his confidence when he told everyone to take a look at the back of his baseball card. This baseball card he referred to had a number of accolades: an MVP award, 2 silver sluggers, and 3 All-Star appearances to go along with over 200 career home runs. After struggling with injuries that shortened his 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Braves were hoping to get his career back on track in 2019.
Braves One Year Wonder, Josh Donaldson: 2019 Season
Excitement filled the air. The Braves had shown a glimmer of what they could do the year before, now they were ready for another push with playoff experience and a retooled roster. The young kids, Ronald AcuÃ±a Jr, Ozzie Albies, Max Fried, Mike Soroka, and more were all ready to show the MLB they had what it takes. In steps newly minted Braves third-baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson finished the season with a .259/.379/.521 slash line, good for a .900 OPS, with 37 home runs and a whopping 100 walks.
Ryan wrote a phenomenal player review of Donaldsonâ€™s 2019 season here, but Iâ€™ll summarize it a bit. While JD got off to a slow start, leaving many fans quick to jump on the â€œwaste of moneyâ€ bandwagon, he quickly changed back into the MVP caliber player we all once knew. Ryan pointed out 3 stretches where Josh was a man with his pants on fire!
- July 3-15: Braves won 8 of 9 and Josh carried a 1.324 OPS
- August 17-25: Braves won 8 straight and Josh carried a 1.033 OPS
- August 30-September 7: Braves won 8 straight games and Josh carried a 1.472 OPS
It can be argued that Donaldson â€œflipped the switchâ€ at various points throughout the season, but I personally like to point to his fight with Joe Musgrove on June 10th (video below). It seemed to fire him up and send his bat to a new level. It certainly broke him out of a big slump, as he was 3-32 to start the month and then went 19-51 with 7 home runs over the next 12 games.
Letâ€™s not forget one of the most important aspects of a third baseman: defense. JD garnered high praise for his defense, which was simply miraculous. He finished the year with +15 defensive runs saved, good for 3rd place among MLB third baseman behind Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado, some very good company.
Raining on Our Parade
All in all, Donaldson was able to put up a 6.0 WAR season and earn 11th in MVP voting. I believe that without Donaldson the Braves donâ€™t make the playoffs in 2019. Even though the season ended in disappointment, it wasnâ€™t until Donaldson signed with the Twins that I felt the real loss. Whether we get baseball any time soon or not, I wish the best for Mr. Donaldson, but hope the Braves donâ€™t come to regret sending the Spring showers away from Truist park.
I’m going to miss this…
Thanks for reading on Braves One Year Wonder, Josh Donaldson. If you enjoyed this piece, you can find all our One Year Wonders and Wankers in our Braves history category here!