Donaldson should help the Twins infield defensively
While everyone knows about Donaldson’s abilities at the plate, the bigger draw for the Twins might have been his defensive ability at the hot corner. The Twins were one of the defensive infields in all of baseball last year and with Miguel Sano committing 22 errors in just 91 games at third base, Minnesota knew that an upgrade needed to be made.
Donaldson was one of the games elite defenders at third base last season, finishing third in Baseball Savant’s outs above average metric with his eight OAA finishing behind Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (17) and Oakland’s Matt Chapman (14). What might benefit the Twins is his range, which helped record five outs above average in front of him and three toward shortstop.
Getting to more balls should help out Jorge Polanco, who owned the worst OAA (-16) by an infielder last season along with Toronto’s Vladamir Guerrero Jr. Meanwhile, Sano ranked 29th among third basemen (-3) in OAA, meaning a move over to first base could be a productive one after signing a three-year deal earlier this week.
In most measurables, the addition of Donaldson should create a ripple effect in the infield and while they are hoping that Sano’s move to first base goes smoother than an attempt to move him to right field in 2016, this should save Twins pitchers from having to get unnecessary outs moving forward.