Player of the Week – Josh Donaldson
The Blue Jays salvaged the last game of the three game set against the Boston Red Sox to avoid a sweep at the hands of a divisional opponent in the first week of the season. One could make a strong argument for Marco Estrada to be the player of the week due to his performance Sunday afternoon, as he threw an absolute to gem to avoid the 2-5 start; however, I’m going with the guy who led an offence that is the limping out of the gate, the MVP.
It was actually two hitters that led the offence this week, with Jose Bautista putting up a very good week alongside Josh Donaldson, but Donaldson gets the edge because of the extra power and production.
Out of the gate, the Jays are ranked 21st in the league with a wRC+ of 83, and without last year’s MVP winner delivering a mark of 207, there team mark would be creeping into the company of the Phillies and Braves.
Donaldson slashed .310/.355/.759/1.114 across 31 PA’s. The 2:11 BB:K ratio is poor, but when he’s making contact, it’s hard. The K% and BB% are likely to normalize towards what he put up last year, but it’s fantastic to see him driving the ball.
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To go along with his 4 HR, 8 R, and 9 RBI, his 94.17 mph average launch speed is well above the league average of 90.27 mph, and his hard contact % is very high at 55.6%. He’s also done damage against a variety of pitches, and it’s clear he’s seeing the ball very well.
The calf injury that forced him into DH duty is minor and it’s been reported that he should be back at 3B by Tuesday for the series opening against the New York Yankees. It will be interesting to track the injury and any effects it may have on his baserunning and defensive abilities, as those were areas where he created plenty of value. Obviously, more so from his elite defensive ability, but his baserunning value from Fangraphs was a career high 4.0 last year, putting him 21st in the league. Although, if it’s indeed a minor injury, it shouldn’t be something that limits him throughout the year.
At times during the first week of the season, he showed an over-aggressive approach, causing him to swing at over 30% of pitches outside the zone, leading to K and BB rates that left much to be desired, but there’s no questioning about kind of damage he did when he made contact, leading to a very productive first week of the season and the first Jays Journal first PoW of the 2016 season.