Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 35 Josh Donaldson
Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson is one of the best players in baseball, but since he plays in Oakland, it almost seems like the casual baseball fan wouldn’t know who he is. With the way the major media outlets cover the young stars in MLB today like Yasiel Puig, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, it takes all of the attention away from some of the smaller market superstars like Donaldson. With the season Donaldson had last year, he deserves way more attention than he has received.
In 2013, Donaldson hit for a .301/.384/.499 triple-slash line with a 148 wRC+. In 668 plate appearances, he hit 24 home runs and drove in 93 runs. In his first full season in the big leagues, he showed great plate discipline, walking in 11.4 percent of his plate appearances and striking out in just 16.5 percent.
In addition to being one of the great young sluggers in baseball, the Athletics third baseman is also one of the best defensive third basemen as well. Among third baseman with enough innings played to qualify for the leader-board, Donaldson ranks fifth with a 9.9 UZR and sixth with a 11.1 UZR/150.
His rare combination of offensive and defensive production led to Donaldson posting a third-best 7.7 fWAR, behind only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not many players are able to come into the league and put up MVP type numbers as soon as Donaldson has. At just 27 years old, Donaldson has many years ahead of him to remain one of the best players in baseball.