Blue Jays Josh Donaldson Wins Rd1 of MVP Battle


The Blue Jays kicked off a series in LA against the Angels with yet another great start from David Price. The 9-2 victory moved them to 0.5 games back of the Yankees for the AL East lead. It also gave them a 4 game advantage over the same Angels in the Wild Card race. All of this is exciting, but yesterday, much of the conversation on Twitter was centered around the debate over the MVP race.

For the longest time, many felt that Angels CF, Mike Trout, winning the award was a foregone conclusion. He is the best player in baseball. It is difficult to disagree. But, the Blue Jays have themselves a pretty good candidate to challenge Trout in Josh Donaldson. The 3B is putting up great numbers, but also putting his team on his back and carrying them toward their first post season appearance in 22 years.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that Donaldson is putting up numbers that are MVP worthy. At the time, I noted that his chances were not good to unseed Trout. Baseball seems to have a mentality that leads to minds firmly planted in their thinking. Once an idea is planted (Trout for MVP) it is hard to shake it. Baseball takes a while to accept new ideas.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

But, with Donaldson having a much better second half than he did last year, and his team making a playoff run, he might just be changing some minds. Now, his team mates do not need to be convinced, obviously. In Thursday’s piece from Brendan Kennedy, we hear how Jose Bautista feels about the discussion. When asked who he thinks the AL MVP is, “Josh Donaldson,” he said. “No doubt. Who else? If the season ended today, he should be the MVP. There’s no doubt in my mind. There shouldn’t be a doubt in anybody’s mind, no offence to any other player.”

In the same piece, Kevin Pillar and Russell Martin were less definite. They focused more on the definition of an MVP. Martin mentioned what would happen if you took Player X out of his team and look at where the team would be. If we use last night’s series opener to answer this question, Donaldson certainly comes out on top.

Hitting out of the third spot, Trout went 0-3 with a walk, 2 strike outs and 2 left on base. Obviously, leaving 2 runners on base is not helping your team out. Neither is striking out twice.  The argument can be made that this series is very important to the Angels and they needed Trout to get off to a good start. Now, no MVP race is going to come down to one game near the end of August, but in the battle of MVP candidates, Trout didn’t come out swinging.

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  • Donaldson, on the other hand, came up big. His night included 2 hits in 3 at bats, a run, 3 RBI, a sacrifice and a walk. His RBI total sits at 94 now. He left zero on base. He scored the first run of the game off a bases loaded walk from Russell Martin. His RBI double in the 4th and his sac fly in the 6th were not those add on runs when the game is already out of hand. Those plays were key to scoring runs against a team that could do the same. So, taking Donaldson’s performance out of the game could result in a much different outcome. Taking Trout out of last night’s line wouldn’t really change much.

    So, in a battle to be the American League’s 2015 MVP, this series is a chance for voters to see the two candidates go toe to toe. It was a chance to see them in the same place at the same time to really gauge who is more deserving. While the race will not be decided by this series, it certainly is a chance for one player to take an edge. After Round 1, that edge goes to the Bringer of Rain.

    Next: Blue Jays Recognized in Baseball America Poll

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