Josh Donaldson has higher WAR than Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis

Josh DonaldsonThe anti-baseball stat crowd is going to have a field day with this one.

Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis are having monster seasons for their respective teams and posting huge power numbers this season. They are considered frontrunners for the AL MVP award, while Mike Trout is also expected to be a factor. But did you know that Josh Donaldson actually has a higher WAR this season than those two sluggers? Do you even know who Josh Donaldson is?

I was having a conversation with one of my buddies the other day about how the Oakland A’s have replicated their “Moneyball” success a decade later. It left us figuring that GM Billy Beane must be on to a new secret system for building a successful roster on a tight budget. It also led my friend to point out that Donaldson, who is 27 and in his first full season as a big leaguer, is posting a higher WAR than Miggy and Davis. That left me stunned.

Donaldson is batting .302/.384/.504 this season with 23 home runs and 35 doubles. He also has walked 70 times, giving him a solid OBP. So how in the world would Donaldson have a higher WAR than a guy who has clubbed 51 home runs, or a guy who has 44 home runs and nearly an OPS of 1.100?

Fangraphs, which has Donaldson third in MLB with a 7.6 WAR, gives the third baseman strong defensive marks and slightly positive baserunning marks. He is fourth among qualified third baseman in terms of defensive value, ranking well ahead of most third basemen, including the out of position Cabrera, who is at the bottom of the chart. Despite his limited defensive range at third, Cabrera still has a 7.5 WAR on Fangraphs thanks to his incredible offensive production.

As of Sept. 19, here’s where Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs has each of the players (the two sites use different formulas to calculate their WAR):

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Oakland A’s 3B Josh Donaldson makes incredible diving catch over tarp (Video)

Josh-Donaldson-amazing-catchOakland A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson made one of the best catches of the year against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. Typically the infield tarp can be an obstacle for fielders, but Donaldson actually used it to his advantage.

Rangers outfielder David Murphy hit a pop-up in foul territory in the sixth inning that was tailing toward the seats, and it looked like Donaldson was going to run out of room because of the tarp. Instead, he dove head first toward the stands, slid across the tarp and made the play.

We initially thought San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable had catch of the year honors locked up with this sprawling grab, but Donaldson’s play is most certainly a contender.