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Grading the 2020 Twins: Josh Donaldson

How did the Bringer of Rain’s season shake out?

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

We’re back at it! Last fall and winter, Twinkie Town writers graded every Minnesota Twins player that touched the field during a game in a Twins uni in 2019. (If you’re interested in those, click here.) The series this offseason will grade the individual performances of each player from 2020, who will receive a classic grade on the scale of A through F based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. To peruse the grades from 2020, click here. Today, I’ll take a look at Minnesota’s new third baseman.

In a winter where improving the Bomba Squad seemed like a crazy idea, the Minnesota Twins went out and signed yet another strong and veteran bat to the lineup. The signing of Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million deal with a club option signaled an end to the Miguel Sano era at third base, effectively moving another slugger to first. As always, expectations are high when adding a new player to a team. However, it’s easy to say that the Bringer of Rain did not meet expectations this season.

Donaldson appeared in only 28 games this season, less than the scheduled 60 games for 2020. In fact, fans did not see him for the whole month of August when he left the contest on July 31 after two innings thanks to a calf injury. In his first season with the Twins, he turned in a .222/.373/.469 (.842) triple-slash with six home runs and 11 RBI. He drew 18 walks against 24 strikeouts. His defense was fine at third base, incurring no errors in the 197 innings of work and getting a 0.0 dWAR according to On top of missing an entire month of the season, he re-aggravated his injury in the third-to-last game of the season, effectively being left off of the Wild Card roster against the Houston Astros.

Just for kicks, I asked myself, “Does he have the Byron Buxton effect?” The Twins were 19-9 in games in which Donaldson appeared, leaving them with a 17-15 record. However, the veteran is not as tidy as, for instance, Nelson Cruz. There have been an instance or two from J.D. of him not hustling during a routine hit or play, calling into question his effectiveness as a veteran. But hey, he got the team robes, so there’s that.

Grade: C-


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