Ditching helmet flap has helped Donaldson rediscover power stroke
CHICAGO — A few weeks ago, after appearing at the plate with a protective flap attached to his batting helmet, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was asked what the deal was with the new piece of equipment.
Donaldson seemed a bit peeved. He said that when a player constantly sees pitches coming at him that are high and inside, you have to take measures to protect yourself.
So, for a few games, he wore the flap. Then he took it off, then he put it on, and now it’s off again.
And guess what? Donaldson has been hitting the leather off the ball recently and it appears that the flap is gone for good. He has decided that he’ll give up more protection for more production.
The Bringer of Rain has hit home runs in three straight games and four in his last six after hitting two total in his previous 39 games. He also walked twice on Wednesday in Toronto’s 5-1 victory over the White Sox and has drawn 22 walks since the start of July. He has drawn 16 of those free passes against starters, the most in the Major Leagues.
“Just staying disciplined to my plan and really grinding out at-bats,” Donaldson said when asked about his recent string of walks. “There’s been several times where I got down to 0-2 and was able to grind it out and walk out of that, and that’s a win for me. And really just going up there and focusing on having real good at-bats.”
Obviously, the Jays need the Donaldson of old to have any chance of snagging a wild card spot, as slim as that may be. That’s one of the reasons he decided to get rid of the flap.
“You know, I thought there was a couple of times when I had it on there, it was blocking me out of a couple of pitches or I was having to turn my head in a certain manner in order to get a good look at the pitcher,” Donaldson said. “I tried to make some adjustments on it. It really wasn’t working as far as moving the flap down. So I was just like, ‘To heck with it. I’m just going to get my other helmet and go from there.’