The A's have a legitimate shot at sending a hitter to the All-Star Game at Citi Field this summer for the first time since Ramon Hernandez back in 2003. That's how good Josh Donaldson has been.
According to FanGraphs WAR, Donaldson has been the 6th-best player in the American League this season, passing up higher-paid names such as Dustin Pedroia, Joe Mauer, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano. He's been the third-best third baseman in baseball (tied with Evan Longoria), behind Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado.
He might be off to the best start in Oakland history. So far, he's accrued a Fangraphs WAR of 2.6. He was worth 1.5 all of last year.
I went back to 2000, looking at the stats through May (let me know if my math is off. I was an English major.) These are the leaders in fWAR for each year in the first two months of the season:
|Josh Donaldson 2013||2.6|
|Josh Reddick 2012||2.2|
|David DeJesus 2011||0.9|
|Daric Barton 2010||1.8|
|Adam Kennedy 2009||1.3|
|Mark Ellis 2008||1.3|
|Nick Swisher 2007||2.1|
|Nick Swisher 2006||2.4|
|Marco Scutaro 2005||0.9|
|Eric Chavez 2004||1.8|
|Eric Byrnes 2003||1.4|
|Eric Chavez 2002||2.1|
|Jason Giambi 2001||1.9|
|Jason Giambi 2000||2|
I didn't figure that looking into 1999 would yield better results.
Then just for fun, I looked at 1989. Through May, the A's best hitter was Dave Henderson — with a WAR of 2.1.
If he can keep this up, the converted catcher has a chance to have one of the all-time great Oakland A's seasons. (For those wondering, Rickey Henderson put up an Oakland-best 10.2 WAR in 1990. Through May, he was at 3.4).