However, on Tuesday, he was the talk of the day because of his glove.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 29, 2022
Third base is a difficult position to play: it’s called the hot corner because they often have to deal with screaming liners.
Donaldson Was Impressive And Showed His Worth As A Fielder
However, it also requires the focus, athleticism, and throwing arm strength to complete a play like Donaldson made today.
It was a slow grounder, and he had to attack the ball and make the throw in time to beat the runner, and this almost always happens when the fielder doesn’t have ideal balance: if he takes a second to set his two feet and make the throw, the runner may be safe.
Donaldson’s defense was good according to the eye test and most metrics.
There is one in particular, Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), that thought he was dreadful in 2021.
Donaldson had a -19.4 UZR/150 (UZR per 150 innings) last season, but his Outs Above Average (1, in the 63rd percentile), DRS (1), and Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA; which was 6.5) all rated him positively.
Overall, he has had better seasons with the glove than 2021, but he wasn’t bad, and combining his excellent offensive skills, he should have no problems being an upgrade over Gio Urshela in 2022.
He has shown time and time again that he can make all the routine plays at third base, and then some.
Yankees fans may not be too happy about the organization’s offseason as a whole, but there is no denying that Donaldson is a really solid and complete player.