Blue Jays: Donaldson’s numbers in a healthy season

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Donaldson
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Donaldson /

Despite the fact that he’s only played in109 games thus far, Josh Donaldson has still managed to hit 31 home runs, and has produced 75 RBI. If had had been healthy all year, what kind of numbers would we be looking at?

I think I did something like this on Josh Donaldson earlier in the season, but now that he’s gone on a ridiculous tear over the last month, I think it’s worth taking another look at.

As most of us know, Donaldson missed more than a month early in the season with a calf injury, and even after he returned it took awhile before he looked fully healthy on the diamond. As a result, he started slow both because he missed a bunch of games, but because he wasn’t at full strength. This of course was compounded by the fact that the disabled list was filling up at a torrid pace, and the team was off to it’s worst start in franchise history.

The team has had their hot stretches throughout the year, but for the most part it hasn’t gotten a whole lot better in terms of the standings. They pushed for .500 nearly a dozen times, and were tied with other times in the basement of the AL East, but were never able to get over the hump. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case for Donaldson on an individual level, as he’s mashed the ball in the second half.

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Interestingly enough, his batting average was .261 entering Monday night’s game (before he went 3-3), which is the exact mark he had in the first half. He posted a .381 OBP in the first half, and had a .383 mark in the second half, nearly identical again. However, it’s been the power department where he’s come alive, as he’s finally had his legs under him again and it’s shown up in bunches.

He posted a .484 slugging percentage in the first half and has bumped it up to .568 after the All-Star break. After having just nine home runs and 25 RBI, he’s now had 22 home runs and 50 RBI since the mid-season classic, and that’s in just 237 at bats.

As for measuring his production over the course of a full season, it’s hardly an exact science, and I’m not going to pretend I’m using some fancy schmancy system here. As of this writing, Donaldson has had 477 plate appearances (or 398 at bats). Last season when he played when he played in 155 games, Donaldson had 700 plate appearances, and 577 at bats. Let’s say for easy math, that Donaldson starts in all five of the remaining games in this year’s schedule, and gets his plate appearances total to an even 500 (he’ll probably come up a little short, but work with me here).

In 700 plate appearances in the 2016 season, Donaldson posted the following numbers:

2016 (700 PA)-  .284/.404/.549, 37 home runs, 99 RBI, 32 doubles,  

If we say he adds a single home run and five RBI (which is being conservative with the way he’s playing), Donaldson will finish with something like:

2017 (500 PA)-  .265/.385/.555, 32 home runs, 80 RBI, 21 doubles

If we were to add the 200 plate appearances he’s missed due to injury, it would project to look like..

*2017 (700 PA)- .265/.385./.555, 45 home runs, 112 RBI, 29 doubles

Again, this is purely just taking the pace he’s been on, and giving you the pace based on 700 plate appearances. 

I truly believe that if he was playing healthy after returning from the DL, that his batting average would be a little higher as well. He didn’t look like himself in June, or even in July, but has been one of baseball’s most feared hitters since the calendar turned to August.

When you look at what he’s accomplished lately, it’s hard to argue that he’s slowing down at all, even if he’s now on the wrong side of 30. Still, as he enters the final year of his current contract with the Blue Jays, he’s been announcing loud and clear that he remains among the elite hitters in the game, and hopefully the front office will find a way to retain him beyond the 2018 season.

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