The Brewers signed Josh Donaldson to a minor league contract on August 31st. It seemed like an inevitability that he would be promoted once he got a solid base of at-bats, and ideally, became productive at the plate again after his struggles this season.
Donaldson has been with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds for a week and a half now, and he's starting to get hot. He's now homered in back to back games.
With just a couple weeks left in the regular season and Donaldson slugging homers in Triple-A, how much longer until we see him in Milwaukee?
The Brewers may not be in a rush to promote Josh Donaldson, but we could see him in Milwaukee somewhat soon.
When Donaldson was brought in, the Brewers said they wanted him to get a solid base of at bats in Nashville to get him going at the plate again. He's played in just five games so far with the Sounds and is sitting out Sunday's contest. Even though he's homered in back to back games, 17 total at-bats doesn't seem like enough.
In those 17 at-bats, Donaldson has tallied just three hits, yes two of them have been homers, but going 3 for 17 isn't exactly inspiring. He has a .176 batting average, and the lack of hits on balls in play was a major reason why he was released by the Yankees in the first place. He currently has the worst BABIP of any player in baseball history with at least 100 plate appearances in a season with his stats this year.
Donaldson's .364 OBP and .893 OPS look much nicer, with the OBP buoyed by five walks to just four strikeouts. There are positive signs in his Triple-A performance, but again this is all in just a handful of games.
To add to the pressure to perform better, ever since Donaldson's arrival, incumbent third baseman Andruw Monasterio has been on a tear at the plate for the Brewers. Monasterio's hitting .320 over his last 15 games. He got the message with Donaldson's signing and has stepped up, securing his starting job. Brian Anderson hasn't played in weeks because of Monasterio's success.
Unless Monasterio cools off, the Brewers don't really need to call upon Josh Donaldson. While he's going hot, Donaldson can continue to rack up ABs in Triple-A, getting himself in a better spot at the plate, beating up on Triple-A pitching, and making sure he's ready if the Brewers decide to call him up.
The Brewers are under no obligation to call up Donaldson at any point. He could end up sticking in Triple-A the rest of the year if the Brewers really want to keep him there. The Brewers did say they valued Donaldson's veteran experience and most expect him to get brought up eventually. Though if Monasterio keeps playing like this and Donaldson doesn't heat up the rest of the way, we may not see Donaldson at all.
One possibility is the Brewers could keep Donaldson in Triple-A through the end of the Sounds regular season on September 24th. That way he gets the maximum amount of at-bats to get himself right in Triple-A before coming back to the big leagues. Monasterio could potentially cool off by that point, opening the door for Donaldson to get an opportunity.