Two steps forward, one step back. The Twins have had a horrible season and they keep getting worse. I actually am speechless as to how bad they have become. There are lots of theories, ideas, frustrations, and trade talk, but there is a silver lining in the storm that is the Minnesota Twins baseball season: Josh Donaldson.
Josh Donaldson certainly has given us headaches since the beginning of the season. He left us in game one with a reoccurring injury that kept him out for weeks, and upon his return, he struggled at the plate, and also on the field. Injury or not, JD’s fielding has been something that needs serious improvement and has cost the Twins some serious defensive woes resulting in other teams getting runs. That doesn’t mean that he lost us the games, our offense needs to get better at the plate, but of his 112 chances, he had 36 put-outs. Comparatively, that’s not a terrible number considering other third basemen like Manny Machado have 34 and Jose Ramirez only has 4 more at 40. Third base is one of the harder positions to play in the MLB, but both Machado and Ramirez have more assists (84 and 86) to their team pushing them to being second in their leagues. With the Twins riding fifth place, Donaldson’s errors and lack of what would seem to me to be - a lack of full effort - is affecting the overall defensive performance of the team.
Offensively, he is showing signs of improvement. That’s not saying much given the status of the team, however, it is saying something for the 6’1, 210-pound third baseman who has been encountering more strikeouts and walks this season than actual runs. April may have been an off month to him given his injury agitation in the first game, making his follow through not as solid as it could have been. I am not giving him a pass for his performance, just a little empathy. As one of the power hitters coming from the Braves, his batting performance has been disappointing since making the transition to the Twins. Donaldson sure hasn’t been worth the money that the organization has been paying into him, making trading him (hypothetically) nearly impossible, but not totally.
Over the past two weeks, Donaldson has almost done a 180 from where he was not only at the beginning of this season, but last season. Even if he is getting an out, his swing is more consistent and he is making contact with the ball more than he did in April. He has managed to get on base more last month and into the first few games of June and get the Twins a few more runs bringing his average up to .256. In a time when the Twins are unable to secure wins against some of the worst teams in baseball, Donaldson seems to at least care about his offensive performance to bring in some runs. He is hitting in almost every game and leaving with no less than a single, double, RBI and lately homeruns, two alone in the June 3rd game against KC. It appears that Donaldson is finally comfortable with - or learning how to use - his swing. I no longer cringe when he comes up to bat. I understand that he may strike out, but I also have been impressed with the progress he has made while a lot of the team continues to digress. If he continues on this path, I would definitely like to see a little more “Rain” during the games.