Just like that, it’s the end of the 2015 season, Josh Donaldson has once again led all American League third basemen in range factor and DWAR, as well as total WAR. Josh Donaldson is your 2015 AL MVP.
September 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) bats during the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
I know it’s crazy to think that now, since Mike Trout has grabbed his first MVP, that any one could possibly grab the reigns from him, but if being second to Trout in WAR with 7.4, according to ESPN, isn’t enough, here’s why Donaldson could do it next year.
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Donaldson, in his last two seasons in the big league has batted .301 and .255, with OPS’ of .883 and .798, respectively. He also racked up 24 homers and 29 as he settled into the middle of the Oakland lineup. It doesn’t help, either that Donaldson plays in a tough park for hitters. His triple slash in 2014 between home and away are eye-opening: .233/.322/.395 at home and .276/.361/.513 (according to Baseball Reference). With that shown, Donaldson has still solidified himself as a presence at the plate.
And there’s no reason to think JD will regress, after starting 2014 off slow, he had a post-All Star break triple slash of .280/.379/.465 according to ESPN. His OPS of .844 was the best of any AL third basemen that had more than one-at-bat. Donaldson’s a standout at his position, but fares just as well against the entire league. In the AL, he was 11th in runs created in 2014. He also was 10th in extra base hits and 12th in total bases in the AL.
All of those stats helped slot him into 8th in MVP voting, but where Donaldson’s real value lies, is his defense, where once again, his home stadium does him no benefit, with one of the largest foul territories in the league to cover.
As stated earlier, JD boasted the best range factor for his position, and at 3.13, it was a large gap between him and second place, Trevor Plouffe at 2.71. With a 2.7 DWAR, JD also was tops in the AL. Donaldson also tied the Oakland franchise record for double plays, with 43.
With JD posting not only solid stats at the plate, but also on the hot corner, he should definitely receive some attention heading into the 2015 season and if he can take the next step to super-stardom, there’s no reason he can’t potentially be next season’s MVP.
When you’re talking value, importance, worth, JD is up there at the top. If not for JD’s passion and play, I don’t see the A’s even getting to the postseason last year. Maybe it’s bias, but stats don’t lie.