Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Chris Mellen

Player Name: Josh Donaldson

Context: 10 Games; 9/15/13 to 9/24/13




1st P






















Sample vs. Season:

Higher average and on-base percentage to overall season; increased slugging during sample; made high frequency of solid contact; extremely patient, with all-fields approach during 10-game stretch.



Well built lower body; powerful core and trunk; strong forearms; filled out into 6’0’’ frame; muscular; in great shape; packs a punch; sneaky strong; moves well and is athletic for a former catcher; durable; body to withstand the rigors of the long season; no health issues; takes care of himself; plays day in and day out.

Hit Tool

Closed stance; hits from a spread-out base; smart hitter; knows strengths and weaknesses; very patient, with a plan of execution at the plate; quick wrists; pulls hands in during swing well; fluid load; drives hands down through hitting zone to stay inside of the baseball; extends later in swing; excellent barrel control; ability to adjust swing path; balance hinges on precise execution of leg kick; swing will sweep when planting too early; long stride; covers the outer third of the plate well; drills offerings out and over the plate; will use the whole field with frequency; barrels up the ball hard to all fields; can be beat above the belt with hard fastballs; swing leaves some vulnerability on inner third; crushes mistakes; picks up the ball out of the hand quickly. — Grade: 5+

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Waits back well; sees ball out of hand quickly; forces LHP to work out and over the plate; can lose balance with changing of speeds and varying sequencing; will roll over stuff on outer third occasionally; didn’t chase out of the strike zone often; chews up LHP; will kill mistakes; must be worked to carefully; can be pitched on hands.

Forces RHP to execute within the strike zone; will get more aggressive early in count, especially the second time seeing the pitcher; can square up high velocity; lays off good breaking stuff; struggles with two-seam fastballs; can be beat with arm-side movement and also elevated; doesn’t try to do too much with stuff on outer third; murder on mistakes; didn’t chase out of the strike zone often.

Notable At-bats




First inning vs. Richards (RHP); first pitch FB 95 fouled straight back – hips opened slightly early to miss; SL 85 fouled off; CB 81 taken off the plate – showed strong recognition; CB 76 taken for called third strike – fooled.

Fourth inning vs. Richards (RHP); first pitch FB 95 middle-away ripped into right field for single; hitter adjusted well from first at-bat against pitcher; leg kick was timed better against FB based on knowledge from previous at-bat; hands stayed back instead of coming forward early; excellent in-game adjustment.


Third inning vs. Vargas (LHP); two straight FBs away for balls; FB 88 on outer corner for called strike; CB 79 in dirt for ball; FB 87 middle-away fouled back; FB 89 inside carved into right field for lazy fly out; hitter was diving into offering due to everything previously being away; planted foot too soon, leaving him off-balance and the bat dragging.


Second inning vs. Hernandez (LHP); CB 76 called strike; CH 84 away grounded foul – rolled over; FB 89 ball up and in; CH 83 away ball; FB 89 inner-third scorched off left field wall for double; hitter was sitting on fastball and expecting pitch; pitcher was unable to get the ball far enough inside; mistake was not missed.

Sixth inning vs. Hendricks (RHP); FB 92 up taken for ball; SL 86 swinging strike – fooled; CB 76 in dirt for ball; CB 75 called strike; FB 93 up and away taken for ball; SL 85 fouled off – opened early, but bat control to spoil; FB 91 strikeout swinging – two-seamer on hands; very awkward swing by hitter; fooled by the movement of the pitch; type of sequencing and stuff that exploits.


Generates power via strong lower body, hip rotation, and bat speed; excellent post-contact extension to create lift; can drive the ball with loft to all fields; home run power plays from left field line to left center field; gets everything into swing when muscling up; hits both fastballs and off-speed stuff for power. – Grade: 6

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Consistent threat to leave the ballpark against LHP; turns on fastballs quickly, especially from just above the knees to the belt; mistakes are more apt to be hit with lift; very confident to let swing fly against LHP – sees the ball well.

Power plays, but hitter picks spots to unload; pull-side power due to long stride and swing mechanics; hot zone middle-to-slightly in from thighs to letters; drives ball on a line into right-centerfield gap; RHP must be careful given hitter’s aptitude and anticipation of sequencing.

Notable At-bats




First inning vs. Perez (LHP); SL 86 called strike; CB 79 middle of the plate driven down left field line for a home run; CB was in similar spot to previous breaking ball, but lacked break; hitter was all over the mistake and did not miss; perfectly timed, balanced stride; angle of pitch played right into swing.


Sixth inning vs. Pressly (RHP); SL 87 in dirt for ball; FB 93 middle-in at the letters launched into left-center field for home run; hitter sitting all over FB; muscled up on pitch upon immediate recognition; driven into sweet spot for power.

Speed/ Baserunning

Slightly below-average runner down the line; ran hard out of the box consistently and on the bases during sample; not a basestealing threat; smart on the basepaths.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Very smart hitter, with high aptitude for the game and understanding of his strike zone; Extremely patient, with an all-fields approach; excellent pitch recognition; rarely chased a ball out of the strike zone during the sample; the type of hitter who crushes mistakes, while also having enough bat control and the ability to stay back to hit pitches in tougher spots; leg kick leaves the hitter susceptible to changes in speeds; varying sequences from either RHPs or LHPs disrupt balance; when front foot is down too early, the hands are typically out in front and the swing will sweep over the ball; batter also shows a weakness against two-seam fastballs from RHPs; arm-side movement a neutralizer; can be beat by hard FBs above the belt, but must set up hitter and avoid predictability; RHPs should focus on locating breaking balls to outer third of the plate as the hitter will open early when thinking FB; LHPs must be careful coming middle-in and should focus on executing off-speed stuff on outer third; FBs from LHPs can be strategically moved around strike zone, especially after establishing outer corner for a strike; there are clear spots to work to against the hitter, but pitchers will pay for their mistakes and work for outs.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

11/44; 25 percent

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Did not show bunt.

Defensive Positioning

Shade to pull on the ground in the infield; shortstop a step into the hole; second baseman slightly shaded up the middle.


Straight up; hitter uses the whole field on a line or in the air; right fielder can favor right-centerfield gap.


vs. LHP


vs. RHP


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I completely love this series. I held back the suggestion this year that something like incredible MiL scouting reports done by BP be done for MLBers, and this is exactly what I imagined. Bravo.

One question on Donaldson. By measure of any of the better WAR/WARP's, he had one of the best seasons in MLB this year, and by his inclusion in your series, he's clearly being highlighted as a major factor in the series. By those measures, I would think he is currently more than a 5+/6 hit/power guy. My question is this: where in the scouting rubric, if anywhere, are you putting the walks/patience? I assume hit tool, but it would seem that this skill alone, which is where he draws a large amount of his value, would bump him up a full grade beyond 5+ in that department.