There are always a handful of players that breakout each fantasy baseball season. It happens every season and is one of the most exciting aspects of fantasy. Last year, one player that really burst onto the scene was Oakland Athletics 3B Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson posted a robust .301 batting average last season, which was tied for 10th-best in the American League. The third baseman also crushed 23 home runs and drove in a team-high 93 runs. It was truly a breakout fantasy season.
However, the third baseman’s hitting prowess came out of nowhere. He hit just .241 in 75 games in 2013 and he has never hit for average throughout his minor league career either. In the four seasons in the minors in which JD played over 85 games, he posted a meager .261 batting average (422 hits/1,616 at-bats). These are rather timid stats considering all the attention Donaldson’s .301 average has received from last year.
Despite his quality performance last season, though, Donaldson is still a very risky player to grab in 2014 drafts. According to ESPN’s rankings, Donaldson is the number five third basemen in fantasy, behind obviously Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, and Evan Longoria. However, it is hard to imagine the unproven hitter being ranked ahead stars like Ryan Zimmerman and Pedro Alvarez. Consistency counts in fantasy and Donaldson has yet to show that he can be a reliable option year after year.
Even worse, Donaldson is already 28 years old. It’s not like he is just coming into his prime, the aging star’s window in closing by the day. Donaldson is honestly a couple bad months away from being sent back down to the minors and he will constantly have to worry about losing time to the younger talent in Oakland’s farm system.
Donaldson is simply not proven enough to warrant such a high draft pick this spring. Third base is one spot where it is better to have a reliable veteran than an unproven player, so let someone else roll the dice on this one-hit wonder.