More Concerning Injury History: Byron Buxton or Josh Donaldson?
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsJosh Donaldson’s Recent Injury History
2017: Right-calf strain (38 games missed)
2018: Right shoulder inflammation, left-calf strain (110 games missed)
2020: Right-calf strain (32 games missed)
Minnesota was well aware of Josh Donald’s calf issues when they signed him this off-season. He was coming off a healthy season in Atlanta and the Twins felt their training staff could continue to keep him healthy in the years ahead. That didn’t happen as he missed over half of the regular season and he was forced to sit out both the team’s playoff games.
Now the Twins have three more guaranteed years left with Donaldson and a team option for a fourth year, which includes a large $8 million buyout. This year was certainly strange with players not being able to go through their normal ramp-up to a season with a shortened Summer Camp leading into the year. Would Donaldson have fared better if the season had been longer and the Twins medical staff could work with him on a more regular basis?
Donaldson will turn 35 before the start of next season and age is always a question when it comes to recovering from injuries. Big expectations surrounded the team’s signing of Donaldson and there are plenty of question marks at the end of his first year.
Byron Buxton’s Recent Injury History
2017: Groin strain, migraines (22 games missed)
2018: Migraines, fractures toe, strained wrist (134 games missed)
2019: Wrist contusion, concussion, left shoulder dislocation, labrum surgery (75 games missed)
2020: Concussion symptoms, left shoulder injury, sprained left-foot (21 games missed)
There’s no question Byron Buxton can be one of the most exciting players in baseball when he is healthy and on the field. Unfortunately, Twins fans have only seen Buxton play over 95 games once in his big-league career. Minnesota took a proactive approach with Buxton this year by trying to alter some of his in-game behavior, but a high and tight fastball resulted in a head contusion and concussion symptoms.
One way the Twins tried to alter Buxton’s behavior this year was to have him play deeper in centerfield. This allows him to start closer to the wall so he can minimize the risks involved with colliding with the wall. Another change has been the coaching staff working with him to try and jump off two feet instead of one foot. This was supposed to give him more control of his body in the air, but there were times this season where Buxton struggled to do this in the heat of the moment.
Even with his injury history, Buxton is one of the most valuable Twins as evident by him ending 2020 with the team’s highest WAR total according to Baseball Reference. There were multiple defensive plays this season where Buxton made a concerted effort to avoid crashing into the wall or diving for the ball. One pitch altered the end of his season, but Twins fans have seen that with another centerfielder in team history.
Donaldson and Buxton now have a full off-season to get ready for what will hopefully be a more regular 2021 campaign. Moving forward, fans are going to continue to have questions every time either one of these players is out of the line-up. If the current Twins core wants to find postseason success, Donaldson and Buxton need to be on the field and playing at something close to peak performance.
Whose injury history are you more worried about? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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