Toronto Blue Jays 2016 season previews: Josh Donaldson

buckleysmith
facebooktwitterreddit

Following a monster 2015 campaign, Blue Jays superstar Josh Donaldson will be looking to cement his name in Toronto sports history with a similar performance.

Past Entries: Marco Estrada   Justin Smoak    Brett Cecil   Devon Travis
Darwin Barney    R.A. Dickey   J.A. Happ

Josh Donaldson is a man of many titles: late bloomer, fearless leader of men, Bringer of Rain, viking pillager, and most recently, MVP. Donaldson has earned every one of these accolades through unwavering work ethic and sheer will to win.

From what started as an unpromising career that looked to be going nowhere, Donaldson brought his wild underdog story to Canada last season, and what a wild ride it was for everyone who bore witness.

2015 Performance Recap

By now you, along with everyone else in sporting fandom, have certainly heard of the year Donaldson just had. With 41 home runs, 123 runs batted in, a WAR of 8.8, and to top it all off: his first ever Most Valuable Player Award.

Donaldson was a pillar of consistency for the Blue Jays, rarely going through extended dry spells, and was far more valuable than just hit batting numbers.

Along with his monster bat, Donaldson provided stellar defence at third base, was a plus on the base paths, and one just simply can’t say enough about what he meant to this Blue Jays team as a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.

There really isn’t anything about his ’15 season that you can say he didn’t succeed or even excel at. Hats off to you, JD.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

2016 Role and Steamer Projection

Look for Donaldson to fill a very similar role in the upcoming 2016 season as he just did in 2015. He will be a lock to start at third base every day and will remain a force in the middle of the lineup (although he did serve a bit of time as the Blue Jays leadoff hitter last year).

With nobody taking his playing time (unfortunate injuries aside), look for Donaldson to put up another monster season like the one he just put together.

The Steamer projections, as they often are, are a bit more cautious when it comes to that. Though the numbers are nothing to scoff at, they aren’t the MVP numbers we will come to expect from JD year in and year out. With projections of 30 HR’s, 93 RBI’s and a slash line of .274/.352/.497, I wouldn’t put it past Josh to shatter those expectations, as he has done with all the expectations so far in his career.

What could go wrong?

With his steady rise in production from surprisingly productive in 2012 to offensive juggernaut in 2015, I think it’s fair to say Josh Donaldson is no fluke. And while he may be due for some slight regression, he will still be worth every penny of the $28.65 million that the Blue Jays just gave him for the next two years.

The one major issue that could hamstring his upcoming season, as it is with every player, is the possibility of a serious injury. In my eyes this is the only thing that could keep JD from repeating as, if not the MVP, at least still the MVP of the Blue Jays.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that the injury gods have smiled favourably on Josh so far (and really the whole Blue Jays squad last year), and keep our eyes open for another monster season.

Next: Blue Jays and the weak farm non-crisis

What could go right?

What a question. What could go right? Everything and more, really. The sky is the limit for the 30-year-old Josh Donaldson, who just seems to be entering the prime of what could someday be a Hall of Fame career (I know I’m getting a bit ahead of myself there).

Any uptick in Donaldson’s production would take him from one time MVP to a superstar who will forever be remembered in the annals of baseball history.

With huge protection for him in the lineup, something the Blue Jays have lacked in many previous years, and the work ethic that will always keep JD looking to improve, I am excited to see what Josh has waiting for us next.

The bottom line

With the Blue Jays looking to build off their breakout season which saw them make the postseason for the first time since 1993, look out for Josh Donaldson to lead this team not only as their offensive superstar, but also as their heart and soul.

I think it’s fair to say that Donaldson will continue to bring the rain to Toronto for years to come, and hopefully a few more MVP trophies to go with it.

facebooktwitterreddit