Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Josh Donaldson to Twins - Fantasy Impact

The Minnesota Twins recently signed third baseman Josh Donaldson to a four-year contract worth $92 million. The contract also has a fifth-year option that can take the total value to $100 million.

The Twins finished 101-61 in 2019 en route to their first AL Central Division title since 2010. The addition of Donaldson will add power to a lineup that already led Major League Baseball in home runs with 307. Donaldson will take over at third base, which will push Miguel Sano over to first base. He should also bat fourth in the lineup on most nights.

The move signifies Minnesota's strong desire to remain atop the AL Central for yet another season. Standing pat while watching the division rival White Sox load up for a 2020 run was not an option for the Twins. They have also added pitchers Homer Bailey and Rich Hill to the mix and look to have a strong 2020 campaign.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!


Bringing Rain to the Twin Cities

Josh Donaldson has had some ups and downs throughout his nine-year career. The downs mostly consist of a nagging calf injury he suffered through in 2017 and 2018, which limited him to 602 at-bats throughout those two seasons. The ups consist of basically everything else. He won the AL MVP in 2015 and has finished in the top-10 of MVP voting three other times in his career (2013-2014, 2016). He has put together four seasons of 30-plus home runs and has had five seasons of 90-plus RBI. He is also a master at drawing walks as his career walk-rate sits at 14.0%, which is nearly six points higher than the league average of 8.3%.

In 2019, Donaldson put together a solid bounce-back season after an injury-plagued 2018 in which he hit .259/.379/.521 with 37 HR, 94 RBI, 96 R, and 100 BB. While the season was not vintage Donaldson as far as batting average and strikeout rate were concerned, it was a very respectable output for the 34-year old. The question for fantasy owners and the Minnesota Twins becomes: Is he able to repeat this performance in 2020? A deeper look into his advanced metrics may give us a better glimpse into what the future holds.

We tend to draft Josh Donaldson based on his power production, so that seems like the best place to start. In 2019, Donaldson had a barrel rate of 15.7%, an exit velocity of 92.9 mph, and a hard-hit rate of 50%. Each of these were career-highs. The fact that he was able to reach career-highs in these power metrics at the age of 34 is a good sign that the power shouldn't drop off much (if at all) in 2020. These power metrics also translated into 37 home runs, which is tied for the second-most in his career and is another sign that he may have put the calf injury behind him and is capable of a similar performance in the upcoming season.

Donaldson also had a solid xwOBA of .387, which ranked him in the top six percent of the league. A big aspect of this lies in Donaldson's continued ability to draw walks. The 100 he put up in 2019 were the second-most in his career and placed him seventh in all of baseball. His ability to get on base at such a high clip should result in an increased total of runs scored seeing as he will be dropped in the middle of a lineup that scored the second-most runs in baseball in 2019.


Effect on the Other Twins

Josh Donaldson being placed in the middle of a lineup that hit 307 home runs and scored 939 runs in 2019 should have ripple effects throughout it. The first and most obvious effect Donaldson will have is on Miguel Sano. Sano will be moving over to first base to make room for Donaldson. We should hope the move will not affect his mindset at the plate, but we will have to wait and see on this aspect. The counting stats for the rest of the lineup should increase in several ways, however.

As mentioned above, Donaldson walked 100 times in 2019 and had a walk rate in the top four percent of the league. This means guys hitting behind him such as Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver, and Miguel Sano will have plenty of opportunities to boost their RBI totals. These players' stock should rise in drafts with the addition of Donaldson as well.

Given Donaldson's robust power numbers, we should expect to see the players hitting ahead of him such as Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, and Nelson Cruz score more runs. This is especially interesting since these three players hit 36, 22, and 41 home runs in 2019, respectively. We could see some gaudy numbers out of this lineup in 2020 and we should expect to see each of their respective draft stocks rise in the coming weeks.



Overall, Josh Donaldson should provide a lot of value to fantasy owners in 2020 as long as he stays healthy. He should also provide added value to the Twins' lineup and fantasy owners of several of the hitters that surround Donaldson in the lineup.

His power and ability to get on base via the walk are his two greatest assets and where he should provide the greatest value to fantasy owners. The added value in the fact that he joins a lineup that is as potent as Minnesota's cannot be overstated. This suddenly becomes a lineup that has the potential to score 1,000 runs and break the record for home runs (307) they set just one year ago. He will easily be a top-10 third base option for fantasy owners and should be available right around pick 100 in mixed leagues.

More 2020 Fantasy Baseball Advice

More Recent Articles


Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More

Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More

ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More

2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More

Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More

How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More

2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More

Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More

Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More

James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More