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Observations from Josh Donaldson’s Virtual Skills Camp

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In which I share random things that popped out to me

Atlanta Braves v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Recently, Matt clued us on a virtual skills camp (from procamps.com) where our very own Josh Donaldson would be sharing tips and drills live over the internet, and through our fearless leader I was privileged enough to “attend”. I’d like to share some notes that I jotted down from this hour-long session. ed. note: This will be much less “Twinkie Town after dark” than James’ review.

First of all, the biggest takeaway I had from the session is that Donaldson is an absolute baseball nerd. He came off as insanely detail-oriented. He’s obviously a huge student of the game. I think that he’s going to be a serious asset for the organization not only with is on-field play, but just with his presence and knowledge that can be shared with the younger players.

Donaldson is also very clearly in incredible physical shape, as James points out (with intimate detail) in his post about the camp. Sporting a chest that challenged his shirt, as well as bulging biceps and calves, the man is an absolute tank.

Although I may no longer be working on my game, I noticed that Donaldson shared quite a few useful tips and methods that I would have loved to utilize back in the day. His attention to detail really comes through in his emphasis on mechanics, both in hitting and fielding. Another tip that I had not once heard before: you should try to catch the ball in the pocket, not in the web of your mitt. At least in my experience, most young players believe that the web is the best place to receive the ball. However, it makes sense that trying for the pocket would give a fielder the most room for error, the cleanest reception, and the quickest transfer to their throwing hand.

In the incredibly random portion, a couple tid-bits popped out to me:

  1. Ron Gant was Donaldson’s first favorite player. Can’t imagine that he was a big Kent Hrbek fan as a kid.
  2. He uttered the phrase “work out tail off”, which is very close to “battle our tails off”. The only logical explanation is that he is an avid reader of the Twinkie Town Nick Punto/Ron Gardenhire blogs from the days of yore.