Today I’ll be talking about quite possibly the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball, Darnell McDonald, or as he likes to go by “MacDime”. He is likely to make the Red Sox 25 man roster as an outfielder who mashes lefties. Will he get major playing time in 2012 due to Crawford’s inability to hit lefties better than Mario Mendoza? Read on for the scoop on DMac’s prospects for the 2012 season.
The Backstory: In 2010, Darnell McDonald joined the Red Sox organization on a minor league contract. As most Red Sox fans know his contract was purchased by the Red Sox in April after Jacoby Ellsbury was killed by Adrian Beltre. In his first game with the Red Sox on April 20th, 2010 he entered the game in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter and promptly hit a bomb over the Green Monster to tie the game up. In the bottom of the 9th inning, DMac hit a walkoff double off of the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a much needed a win against the Rangers. Since then he’s been on the Red Sox roster for most of the 2010 and 2011 Red Sox season.
Last Season Review: Darnell McDonald didn’t have a great 2011 season, but he did what was asked of him. He hit .203/.303/.401 with 6 home runs, 6 doubles, and a triple. His OPS+ was 88 which isn’t terrible for a bench player. Also his BABIP was low at only .258. You can’t hate on a quality bench player who knows his role and is generally regarded as a good force in the clubhouse.
The most important part of what DMac brings to the table is that he mashes lefties. He hit .260/.333/.471 against lefties while against righties he hit a paltry .189/.241/.264. He is clearly best utilized as a platoon hitter who only hits against lefties.
Looking Ahead: Going into 2012, Bobby V needs to utilize McDonald properly to get the most out of him. If he puts him out against righties like Tito did in 2011 the team will be negatively impacted by his weakness against righties. McDonald figures to be a 4th outfielder on the Red Sox, splitting reps with Ryan Sweeney. Sweeney mashes righties so having Sweeney/McDonald coming off the bench as outfielders works out great.
Should Ellsbury, Crawford, or Ross get injured expect to see a DMac/Sweeney platoon to fill the void. As Crawford is almost a lock to start the year on the DL now, expect a McDonald/Sweeney platoon right out of the gate. It’ll be important for this platoon to work out so the Red Sox can get decent stats to fill the void of Crawford until he can come back healthy.
Conclusion: Expect for McDonald to be on the 25 man roster going into Opening Day 2012. He should remain on the roster and serve as a quality bench player for the Red Sox. Plus it’s nice to have the greatest player ever on your team.