Chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” rang out through the O.co Coliseum during the waning weeks of the regular season every time Josh Donaldson came through in yet another clutch situation. It was a regular occurrence as Donaldson transformed from an also-ran, one time prospect into one of the better third baseman in the American League. Not many predicted this type of outburst from Donaldson in 2013, myself included. When the buzz began to surround him regarding MVP voting, I was one of the first to denounce any such thoughts with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout toiling away in the American League. That wasn’t to say I didn’t respect what Donaldson was doing, but their performances were on an entirely different level.
October 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) defends during the eighth inning in game one of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated Athletics 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The voting for the MVP award was announced, and Cabrera took home the award for the second straight year. One surprise was found amongst the votes though, a fourth place finish, and a lone first place vote for Josh Donaldson. That one first place vote happened to come from A’s beat writer John Hickey, so it can be attributed to a little old fashioned homerism. The vote though did elevate Donaldson to the fourth place, and Hickey wasn’t the only one voting for Donaldson.
Donaldson amassed 222 points overall, and the bulk of his points came from the 14 third place votes. That places him ahead of slugger Chris Davis, who hit 53 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles this year. Not too shabby. Davis only received 11 votes for third place, and totaled 232 points overall, so Donaldson was very close to cracking the final three, which would have been pretty cool for him.
All told, Josh Donaldson had a fantastic 2013. He turned out to be the classic late bloomer, and the Athletics are now being rewarded for their patience. A position that had been in turmoil since injuries began to plague Eric Chavez, has finally been solidified. No longer are the A’s in search of their third baseman of the present or the future, they have him.