Josh Donaldson Bringing The Swing Back To The Swinging A`s
There is a third baseman in the American league right now that is playing superb baseball. His glove is gold material, his bat is hot, and he plays the game like he is still in the sandlot. No, I am not talking about Miguel Cabrera, I’m talking about the Athletics sophomore Josh Donaldson.
It`s unfortunate that this young man won`t be going to the all-star game this year. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the best player in baseball also plays third base for an American league team. But Josh`s story is nothing short of miraculous as he made his way from a zero last year, to the latest hero of the no-name greens and gold’s.
Levon Donaldson, Josh`s dad, was put into prison for fifteen years on drug and violence charges when Josh was very young. Instead of doing what most young boys do, Josh never pointed his finger at his father or at his working mother. Josh embraced sports as a young man and drew local attention for his all-state football ability and his perfect golf swing. However, baseball didn`t leave the best impression on young Josh. His mother recalls a heartbreaking event.
[quote]”Once a year, we would go see the Braves play, but one time when Josh was about 10, he waited by the tunnel for 2 1/2 hours for an autograph, and no one signed one for him,” French said. “He said, ‘I hate the Braves,’ and he was so disappointed, we never went back. I told him, ‘You always remember that. If you ever are in that situation, don’t you ever deny a child an autograph.’ “[/quote]
Josh`s journey to the big leagues was no easier than his fatherless childhood. The 27 year old debuted in 2010 for the Athletics and played only 14 games. In those 14 he displayed 12 strikeouts, a .156 AVG, .206 SLG, .487 OPS, and was sent immediately back down to the Athletics triple A affiliate Sacramento. Josh was called up again in 2012 and it was a disaster. His first half stats were so bad that Josh was again sent down to Sacramento and it was believed that his major league shot was over. Here are Josh`s numbers from that first half of last season that all but sealed the deal.
28 games, 98 AB, 15 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 26 SO, .153 BA, .160 OBP, .235 SLG
You can see why Donaldson thought his young career was over. The man walked once in 28 games and struck out more than a young Little Wayne. As an avid Athletics fan I was furious. Send this pumpkin pie hair cutted freak down to the minors! Trade him for cash! Cut him! I got my wish and Josh was sent down once again, only to be brought up a few months later. I couldn`t believe it. I mean, I believe in forgiveness as much as the next guy, but if you burn your hand twice on the same fire you don`t go around that bloody fire anymore. It`s a good thing I`m not a GM for anyone because my club would rotate players more than the Miami Marlins… um, if that is even possible. Josh turned the season around and heavily contributed to the magical comeback to capture the division crown.
The new Josh Donaldson is different. The converted third baseman has everything going for him. The arm, the glove, the bat, the power, the speed, and even that stupid smile has me mesmerized. His stats reflect a new man this season.
62 games, 231 AB, 76 H, 9 HR, 27 BB, 43 SO, .329 BA, .397 OBP, .532 SLG
Needless to say, a quick comparison to his stats from the first half of last year you probably wouldn’t believe it was the same player. At this rate people are going to start remembering young Josh`s name, boys will be begging for his often given autograph, and Josh will leave Oakland for bigger and better money. That is no surprise; Oakland is oft considered the minor league team for the Yanks and Redsox. But for the time being, we get to enjoy a fantastic passion. I kid who picks his team up both on the field and in the dugout. The sharp tongued Josh Donaldson will do a lot in carrying this young club into even a deeper and more magical post-season than last years and I can`t wait to watch him flourish.