If you come to this site, or are something more than just a casual baseball fan, you likely know that Josh Donaldson is pretty great at this whole baseball thing. With four straight top-10 American League Most Valuable Player Award finishes, and one actual MVP Award in his trophy case, this should seem pretty straightforward. And yet, relative to how good he is, I feel he’s still a little underappreciated. So in that spirit, I wanted to dig in a little on just how good he is. The answer is that he’s been historically great.
Let’s start, as we often do, with a table.
Donaldson didn’t become a regular in the majors until his age-27 season. That was back in 2013, four seasons ago. Since then, he has been one of the best players of all-time for his age. Look at him right there, nestled between Greg Maddux and Mickey Mantle. What?
Before we get to the players who appear on this table, though, let me give you a quick sampling of the players who aren’t on it: Jeff Bagwell, Miguel Cabrera, Steve Carlton, Lefty Grove, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Tom Seaver, Duke Snider, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young, just to name a few. When was the last time you thought of Donaldson as superior to A-Rod? Obviously, I’m not saying that Donaldson’s career is better. In the time he’s been a regular, however, he been nearly as good as possible.