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Josh Donaldson signs with The Atlanta Braves

Donaldson could be in for a monster season hitting cleanup for the Braves.

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The early Hot Stove action continued yesterday with Josh Donaldson signing a one-year, $23M contract with the Atlanta Braves. Last season, the Atlanta Braves surprised many baseball fans with their 90-72 record. Of course a large portion of their success can be attributed to young players such as Ronald Acuna, Jr. & Ozzie Albies.

Another young player partially responsible for the Braves’ early success is Johan Camargo (24 years old). Last season, Camargo had a wRC+ of 115. He contributed 19 home runs for fantasy purposes with a batting average that helped as well. Where exactly Camargo fits on this new Braves roster remains to be seen. A super-utility role is certainly a possibility and if executed properly could mean that a massive loss in playing time could be avoided. RosterResource currently has Camargo as the Braves starting left fielder. Camargo is a good real life player, as well as a pretty solid fantasy asset. He’s a bubble guy to me, meaning, I could see a near repeat in his 2018 line or he could lose five to eight home runs and I’d simply shrug.

Josh Donaldson is still an insanely talented hitter when healthy. Unfortunately, Donaldson has had extended disabled list trips both of the past two seasons. In 2017 Donaldson missed 42 days with a strained right calf. In 2018 the days missed jumped to 125, this time with a shoulder injury and the left calf acting up numerous times. It is somewhat concerning that Donaldson signed with a National League club in so much as he’ll be unable to DH on days his body may need a rest. I suppose that’s the beauty of the depth Camargo brings.

The Steamer Projection for Josh Donaldson is impressive:

570 PA | 83 R | 27 HR | 73 RBI | 4 SB | .257/.366/.485

I feel like the projection leaves quite a bit of room for increased production in the run counting categories. With a top three in the batting order of Ronald Acuna, Jr (.346 OBP); Ozzie Albies (.324 OBP) & Freddie Freeman (.379 OBP), Donaldson will have plenty of ducks on the pond to drive in, again, if he can stay healthy.

With all of this said the ultimate question always boils down to “what’s the cost?”

We have some early ADP data to work with now, granted, none since the signing yesterday. Over at the NFBC, Donaldson has an ADP of 112th overall. His max pick is currently 165th overall with a min. pick of 84th overall. I expect to see Donaldson going much closer to the min. pick in future drafts and perhaps even setting a new min. pick floor shortly. In fact, Donaldson was going much earlier in the #2EarlyMocks a couple of months back. Some of that could have been draft room dynamics, but it’s worth considering if Donaldson is a 2019 target of yours. We will want to touch base again in a few weeks to re-run Donaldson’s ADP post signing to see how exactly the market is pricing in his new team context.