Scrambling At Third Base: Donaldson, Dominguez

Todd Frazier is seeing some pine, Trevor Plouffe is resembling a large orange-ish gourd, Adrian Beltre has a balky shoulder — there are probably a goodly number of you out there scrambling to fill games played at third base as you stagger to the finish at the hot corner. To that end, there are a pair of guys that have been stinging the ball lately that are worth vetting to see if they fit any plans for your daily transaction league needs.

Josh Donaldson

Donaldson hasn’t been fantasy worthy on the season, and as it turns out, he wasn’t even major-league worthy as the A’s replaced him with Brandon Inge and he’s done two tours of AAA already. Overall, Donaldson’s .242/.284/.419 line is nothing special, unless by special we’re meaning “bad.” But since he’s been recalled, Donaldson has produced results that are starkly different than what we’ve seen thus far. From his start on August 15 through September 12, Donaldson has hit six home runs, driven in 17 runs, scored 15 and has posted an overall triple slash of .327/.389/.602. His BABIP over that time span is .338, which isn’t necessarily otherworldly and his line drive rate has been so solid that his expected BABIP in August was .341. So he seems to be earning it.

In his time at AAA, he actually looked a heck of a lot like the guy we’re seeing now. He hit .335/.402/.589 with 13 home runs over 234 plate appearances. It’s not that I expect that he’ll reproduce those numbers at the major league level, but he at least demonstrated an ability to hit for average, a little bit of power, and he didn’t strike out a ton. His success in the minors at least passes the smell test that this kind of production isn’t completely out of the blue, even if objectively you expect a degree of regression.

Donaldson is playing solid defense, he’s hitting 6th in a lineup that gives him good opportunities to drive in runs, and there’s nobody really threatening to take his job if he has a couple stinkers. There has been a lot of talk about some mechanical tweaks he’s made since his return and a new “mental approach” — but whatever the case may be, he’s stinging the ball right now and maybe, just maybe, he can help you fill a gap on your roster.

Matt Dominguez

We’re dealing with an extremely small sample size with Dominguez, but since his recall he’s hit .286/.318/.571 with three home runs, a double, a triple, and seven RBI over 12 games played. His BABIP over this span is just .273, so it’s not as if luck is the culprit to this terrific little stretch. Should you jump on Dominguez if you’re in a pinch at third? Eh, probably not.

In over 200 games at the AAA level, the 23 year old owns a .258/.311/.396 line, so he’s yet to really demonstrate that he is much of an offensive threat and most of his value is wrapped up in his glove — which isn’t likely to help many of your fantasy teams. But he is playing his home games in a very friendly park and it’s possible the change of scenery after the Carlos Lee deal provided some kind of added value to his offense – but relying on the change of scenery bump probably hasn’t won many fantasy leagues.

If there was any speed in his game, he might be worth a flyer because there is a little pop in his bat and he’s recently been hitting out of the 5 and 6 hole in the lineup. But unless you’re in a very deep league or you’re in a position where you’re just adding talent in a dynasty, he’s probably more of a guy to monitor than one to spot start right now.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

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