Author: Matt Imbrogno Page 1 of 29

The Yankees Need to Suspend Josh Donaldson

The Yankees need to suspend Josh Donaldson. There is no other way to say it. What he said to Tim Anderson in the course of Saturday’s game is unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist. For that, he needs to lose playing time and game checks. I’m not sure exactly what the appropriate length of suspension or amount of fine should be, but there needs to be something.

Additionally, this needs to come from the Yankees. They cannot and should not let the league step in after the fact and do it for them. Randy, Bobby, and I were harsh on the Yankees on the podcast in the wake of their weak response to George Floyd’s murder and the surrounding protests and I think I can speak for them when I say I hope they’ve learned their lesson. However, given PR’s weak statement after yesterday’s game, along with Donaldson’s, it’s pretty clear that isn’t the case. Those two statements, justifications, whatever, demonstrate that, at least initially, neither the organization nor the player understand why what Donaldson said was unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist.

Regardless of what I think, what you think, Tim Anderson, the person at whom the comment was leveled, thought it was racist. That alone should be all the ‘proof’ one needs to know that what Donaldson said was, in fact, racist. A reminder to my fellow white people: We do not get to be the arbiters of what is or isn’t racist. We do not get to tell Black people why they are wrong about what they find racist. If you find yourself doing this, stop.

I worry that, in the coming days, Donaldson’s Black teammates and coaches will be asked about this incessantly and have to answer for their teammate’s racist remark, putting them in a virtual no-win situation. It’s his white teammates who need to be asked about this, who need to show they understand why what Donaldson was wrong, who need to show they will be the ones to hold him accountable for what he said. If they don’t understand, they (and Donaldson, of course) need to be made to understand. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

What Josh Donaldson said was, again, unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist. There should be no room for it anywhere in baseball, let alone on the Yankees. I implore them to do the right thing and suspend and fine him and make sure he gets the education enough to understand why he was wrong. If the Yankees are unwilling or unable to do that, I hope the league steps in and swiftly corrects them.

Jonny Off the Spot: On Loáisiga’s Struggles

In 2021, Jonathan Loáisiga was one of the best relievers in baseball. Over 70.2 innings, he sported a 2.17 ERA, a 2.58 FIP, 3.3 bWAR, and 2.4 fWAR. With an 18.7 K-BB% and a ground ball rate over 60, he was nothing short of dominant to opposing batters. 2022 has not picked up where 2021 left off.

Coming into Saturday’s game in Chicago, he sports a 5.93 ERA and a 5.99 FIP. He’s already surrendered as many homers–3–as he did in all of 2021. He’s already walked 8 batters, too, having only walked 16 in all of 2021.

No Rain: On Josh Donaldson’s Lack of Power

Going in to Sunday’s (much-delayed) action against the Texas Rangers, Yankee third baseman Josh Donaldson is sporting a .214/.340/.357 line, good for a .321 wOBA/115 wRC+. On its face, there’s really nothing wrong with that, especially given the depressed offensive environment of 2022. But a closer look reveals a .143 ISO, by far the lowest of Donaldson’s career. The closest he’s come to a mark like that in a full season is .201 in 2014. So what gives?

Como Se Dice pull in Italiano? Anthony Rizzo and the Right Side

When the Yankees passed on trading for Matt Olson and passed on signing Freddie Freeman, there was some disappointment and frustration in many Yankee-centric circles. Anthony Rizzo was the consolation prize. But his start to 2022, featuring a league-leading nine home runs, has halted that idea in its tracks. Behind this torrid start is something that should seem simple when it comes to a lefty hitter who plays at Yankee Stadium: pulling the ball.

This year, Rizzo is pulling the ball at a career high 56.2% rate, well above his average of 42.1%. He’s also paired this with hitting the ball on the ground less than normal: 32.3% compared to 39.4% for his career. What’s surprising about this, in a good way, is that he hasn’t sacrificed going the other way. He’s at 21% oppo, compared to 21.9% for his career. He’s not hitting the ball up the middle nearly as much–22.6 vs. 35.8–but that hasn’t hurt his production at all.

April Breezes: On Josh Donaldson’s Early Season Whiffs

As of Friday night’s game against the Guardians, things had not gotten off to a good start for Josh Donaldson in 2022. He went into that game hitting to just a .270 wOBA (78 wRC+) with a 32.7% strikeout rate, his highest ever by a big, big margin. The normal caveats apply, of course, in that the season is still very young and all that. Regardless, it’s alarming to see things go so wrong in such an unexpected way.

Overall, Donaldson’s whiff rate stands at 33.7%, which ranks in the 15th percentile in the league. So what’s behind that? The first place I looked was his whiff rate on fastballs, since that’s where a lot of this trouble tends to start. His whiff rate on fastballs is fairly high at a touch over 31%, but it’s actually in line with the last few years. The problem appears to be with secondary pitches.

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