by Michael Duca
OAKLAND–When it comes to Josh Donaldson he’s probably the best player the American League left off the All-Star roster and there’s little doubt that Donaldson has been pretty consistent and is number two in the A.L. in WAR which is one of those stats when you go to replace a player all year and that’s probably the best one or actually judging a player. He’s just about the best in the A.L. at providing victories for a team both offensively and defensively.
Donaldson has played an outstanding third base he would probably be the leading candidate for the gold glove if it weren’t for Mario Marchado in Baltimore and he is amongst the best offensive third baseman in the A.L. if it weren’t for the Miguel Cabrera guy in Detroit. He’s sort of the avis of third basemen in the A.L. second best defensively, second best offensively, probably best all around.
Donaldson in the playoffs: To know how Josh Donaldson is going to do in the playoffs is something you can’t ask before the playoffs. How big of a role was the Giants Marco Scutaro last year? Nobody was expecting that, how big of a role was the former Giant Cody Ross in 2010? Nobody was expecting that. What happens in the playoffs was because teams have been scouted for weeks, weeks, and more weeks the key players tend to get shut down and the role players tend to play the biggest roles for the winning teams because if the role players who come and provide the offense allow a game to go far in the playoffs it’s the unexpected it’s the team tendators who show up out of nowhere.
Angel Pagan is carrying the Giants offense: People in the pressbox laugh when I say the Giants Angel Pagan has proved he’s the Most Valuable Player in the National League. By a real definition the term MVP he’s clearly the most valuable player to his team because they were in first place when he got hurt. Then the Giants played 20 games below .500 while he was gone and since his return they’ve climbed from the cellar back to third place.
There isn’t any question how important he is to the team, the best way to explain him is he gives the maximum effort and demands maximum effort and produces a higher level of energy within the clubhouse and on the field amongst their teammates. Who could ever forget last year watching the fast clap, the sunflower seed throwing, all of that stuff that outsiders think of is silly and a little boyish is really good how seriously good athletes manage to alleviate the pressure of playoffs.
It’s to revert to being little boyish, it’s to revert to going out and having fun when you perform and you relax and you let your talent to take over and that’s what Pagan did for the Giants last year and that’s what Hunter Pence did for them last year much like Juan Uribe did for them in 2010.
The way the Giants have played winning seven out of their last nine is their late September test against really good competition unless they had something to lose and I think the Giants will do really well to finish up the season. The Giants will be able to demonstrate a little bit more long ball power in the upcoming series at Yankee Stadium and the Giants pitching staff will probably do a good job in that ball park also because they throw a lot of ground balls.
The most important thing that’s going to come out of that series is the Giants are going to carry away with them forever the memory of being there for Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera’s last regular season home game and to see what the Yankees have planned for the future Hall of Famer.
Michael Duca does commentary each week for the Giants and A’s for Sportstalk