Josh Donaldson

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Josh Donaldson
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Donaldson with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015
Toronto Blue Jays – No. 20
Third baseman
Born: (1985-12-08) December 8, 1985 (age 33)
Pensacola, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 30, 2010, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
(through 2015 season)
Batting average .276
Hits 584
Home runs 104
Runs batted in 351
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Joshua Adam Donaldson (born December 8, 1985) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Oakland Athletics.

Donaldson was voted the American League Most Valuable Player for the 2015 MLB season. Additionally, Donaldson was a starter for the American League at the 2014 and 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Games, the latter for which he received the most votes all-time in fan polling.

Amateur career

High school

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Donaldson attended Pace High School for his freshman year and played varsity baseball, before transferring to Faith Academy in Mobile, Alabama. At Faith, Donaldson competed in football, basketball, and baseball. As a shortstop and pitcher, Donaldson was the Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, batting .515 on the season, and led Faith Academy to a state title. Donaldson set four Faith Academy single-season records in baseball, hits (55), triples (6), doubles (21), and RBI (54). In football, Donaldson was a wide receiver, defensive back, and punter, setting a school record with 11 interceptions in one season as a senior, while also being named AISA All-Star Game MVP.[1]

College

Donaldson later attended Auburn University, where he played college baseball as a catcher and third baseman for the Auburn Tigers baseball team in the Southeastern Conference. During his freshman season in 2005, Donaldson started 39 games at third base, hitting .294 with seven home runs, and also began learning to play catcher. In his sophomore season, Donaldson hit .276 and led the team with ten home runs; he also threw out 15 of 38 base stealers and had seven pickoffs. In the summer of 2006, Donaldson played for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League where he was an All-Star and hit .302. In 2007, Donaldson was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American.[2]

Professional career

Draft and minor leagues

The Chicago Cubs drafted Donaldson as a catcher in the first round (48th overall) of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[3] In his first minor league season, Donaldson played 53 games for the Rookie Arizona League Cubs and Short Season-A Boise Hawks, batting a combined .335 with 9 home runs and 25 RBI. He also walked more than he struck out, with 39 and 38 respectively.[3] In 2008, he played 63 games with the Class-A Peoria Chiefs, where he hit .217 with 6 home runs and 23 RBI.[3] Donaldson was then traded, along with Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Sean Gallagher, to the Oakland Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.[4] He played 47 games with the Advanced-A Stockton Ports, where he batted .330 and had 9 home runs and 39 RBI.[3]

Donaldson played the entire 2009 season with the Double-A Midland RockHounds, and recorded a batting average of .270 with 9 home runs and 91 RBI.[3] Excluding a short trip to the major leagues in 2010, he spent the season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, and hit .238 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI.[3] Donaldson played the entire 2011 season in Sacramento, improving his average to .261, and hit 17 home runs and 70 RBI.[3]

Oakland Athletics

Donaldson was called up to the majors for the first time on April 30, 2010.[5] He made his debut that night as a pinch hitter, and struck out. The next day, he recorded his first major league hit, a two-run home run on the first pitch by Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dana Eveland.[6]

Donaldson officially converted to third base from catching in the beginning of the 2012 season during spring training. He started the regular season as the everyday third baseman for the A's for the first half, but due to struggles he was sent to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats for much of the season. The A's recalled him in mid August after everyday third baseman Brandon Inge was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured arm.[7] He filled in for Inge and proved to the A's organization that he was capable of holding the everyday job. Donaldson aided the A's into making the postseason, and finished the 2012 season with nine home runs, 33 RBI and a .241 average.

Against Detroit Tigers reliever Brayan Villarreal, Donaldson hit his first career walk-off home run on April 12, 2013. It the A's first walk-off win in 2013. He hit his first career grand slam on June 7 against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale.[8] Major League Baseball named Donaldson the American League Player of the Month for September after batting .337 with 20 runs scored, eight doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI in 25 games.[9] He played 158 games and finished the season with 24 home runs, 93 RBI and a .301 average and placed fourth in AL MVP voting.[8]

Donaldson was elected to his first All-Star appearance in 2014 as the starter at third base for the American League.[10] Donaldson hit a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles on July 17 to lead the A's to a 5–4 victory. Donaldson won his first career Fielding Bible Award for his work at third base.[11]

Toronto Blue Jays

Donaldson fielding in April 2015

On November 28, 2014, the Athletics traded Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto.[12] The following February, he lost his salary arbitration case against the Blue Jays after seeking $5.75 million. Instead, he was awarded the Blue Jays' offer of $4.3 million for the 2015 season.[13] Donaldson hit his first two home runs as a Blue Jay in an 8–7 loss to the Atlanta Braves on April 17, 2015. The following day, he hit a tenth inning walk-off home run, giving Toronto a 6–5 victory over the Braves.[14] Donaldson capped off a 10-game homestand with a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles. His home run was measured at 481 feet (147 m), the longest home run in MLB to that point in the 2015 season.[15] On May 26, Donaldson hit his second walk-off home run of the 2015 season, a three-run shot off Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson.[16]

On June 1, Donaldson was named the American League Player of the Week for the second time in his career. From May 25–31, he batted .440 with 11 runs scored, six home runs, and 11 RBI.[17] A campaign was launched in early June to elect Donaldson as a starter to the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which was led by Don Cherry and Stephen Amell.[18][19] At the time the campaign began, Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals led voting for third basemen. It was announced in a voting update on June 29 that Donaldson had surpassed Moustakas,[20] and on July 5, was announced as the starting third baseman for the All-Star game, with a record 14,090,188 votes.[21][22] He participated in the Home Run Derby on July 13, losing in the semi-finals to eventual winner Todd Frazier.[23]

In a game against the Minnesota Twins on August 5, Donaldson hit his 29th home run of the season, tying the career-high he set in the previous season.[24] He would break his personal record on August 7, by hitting his 30th of the season in a 2–1 win over the New York Yankees.[25] From August 3–9, he batted .385 (10 hits in 26 at bats) with two doubles, five home runs, eight RBI and nine runs scored as the Blue Jays won eight games in a row. This performance led to his second AL Player of the Week Award of the season.[26]

In a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 22, Donaldson became the first player to record 100 RBI in 2015. By the end of August, observers began referring to Donaldson's season as one of the best in Blue Jays' history.[25] Several members of the media wrote articles naming him as the American League Most Valuable Player Award frontrunner over Mike Trout, and fans attending both home and away games began chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" when he would bat.[27][28][29] On September 7, Donaldson hit his 100th career home run. He hit his 40th home run of the season on September 25, and in doing joined Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado as the only players in franchise history to have 40 doubles and 40 home runs in the same season.[30] Donaldson finished the 2015 regular season with a .297 batting average, 122 runs scored, 41 doubles, 41 home runs, and 123 RBI.[31]

Sports publication Sporting News announced on October 29, 2015, that Donaldson had won their MLB Player of the Year Award.[32] Other awards included the American League Hank Aaron Award,[33] the American League third baseman's Silver Slugger Award,[34] and Players Choice Awards for both Major League Player of the Year and American League Outstanding Player.[35] On November 19, 2015, Donaldson was named the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player,[36] beating out fellow finalists Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain. Donaldson became just the second Blue Jay to win the AL MVP award, joining George Bell, who won in 1987. On December 5, 2015, Donaldson was revealed as the cover athlete for MLB 16: The Show.[37]

Awards

Personal life

Donaldson was raised by his mother, Lisa French, with his father, Levon Donaldson, having been imprisoned for most of his childhood.[39] His father, a construction worker, was sentenced in 1992 on charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and aggravated battery, and released from prison in 2007.[40][41]

His father watched him play baseball in person for the first time on September 13, 2013, against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. He had two hits in three at bats, walking twice, with a homer, a double and three runs batted in, in a 9–8 Athletics victory.[42][43]

References

  1. Lacques, Gabe (March 27, 2014). "Josh Donaldson finds a winning chip on his shoulder". usatoday.com. Retrieved August 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Josh Donaldson Bio". auburntigers.com. Retrieved August 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Josh Donaldson Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved November 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Cubs acquire right-handed pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from Oakland". Chicago Cubs.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Suzuki on 15-day DL with intercostal strain
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  9. 9.0 9.1 Slusser, Susan (September 30, 2013). "Donaldson is AL Player of Month; game times; Game 1 virtually sold out". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  11. http://www.athleticsnation.com/2014/11/3/7149049/athletics-josh-donaldson-wins-fielding-bible-award.
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External links