The Braves' newest star once wore a full Viking costume on the History Channel
We officially have our first big splash of the Hot Stove season, with the Braves announcing a one-year deal worth $23 million with third baseman Josh Donaldson. After two injury-plagued seasons, it was unclear what kind of deal the 32-year-old would command this offseason despite his exceptional pedigree as one of the best hitters in baseball. Fresh off a National League East title, Atlanta turned out to be an enticing fit for Donaldson, who clearly wants to compete for a World Series after falling short in October several times thus far in his career.
The Braves already boasted one of the most dynamic infields in baseball, but now they might just have one of the best. It's no secret what kind of impact Donaldson can make on the field. But what else is there to know about the slugger?
Here's a quick review:
He grew up a Braves fan
Born in Pensacola, Fla., Donaldson moved to Mobile, Ala., in high school and went on to play his college ball at nearby at Auburn University. With Braves territory stretching firmly from Georgia across the southern part of the United States, Donaldson was quite fond of the Braves growing up. Now he'll get to wear the jersey of his childhood team, which is always extremely cool.
He was a first-round pick -- as a catcher
Not only did Donaldson play catcher in college at Auburn, but he played it all the way up through the Minor Leagues with the Cubs after being drafted 48th overall in the 2007 Draft. Donaldson even played 10 games behind the plate during his early years with the A's.
His first career hit was a home run
After being traded to Oakland by the Cubs, Donaldson made his MLB debut with the A's on April 30, 2010, and collected his first big league hit -- a long ball to left field -- a day later:
He won the American League MVP Award in 2015
Donaldson broke out with a fourth place MVP finish in 2013 in Oakland, but his signature campaign came a couple years later in his first year with the Blue Jays. The third baseman won the award comfortably after hitting 41 home runs and leading the AL in both runs and RBI, all while helping Toronto win its first AL East title since 1993.
He is at the forefront of the launch angle revolution
There has been much discussion over the last few seasons about how hitters are adjusting their approaches to hit more fly balls, and in turn, more home runs. Donaldson was been one of the earliest and most vocal adopters of this new hitting mindset, once explaining his approach as, "No grounders. Ground balls are outs. If you see me hit a ground ball, even if it's a hit, I can tell you: It was an accident." Preach, man.
He got his nickname "Bringer of Rain" from a TV show
Donaldson gave himself the moniker and made it his Twitter handle after a character on the show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," but recent interpretations of his name have focused more on the meteorological connotation -- and Donaldson has played along:
He was once on the History Channel show, "Vikings," in full costume
Yeah, that happened.
He once had a three-homer game and got the hat trick treatment
Hockey fans in Canada are used to celebrating three-goal games by throwing hats onto the ice. When Donaldson hit three home runs in a home game against the Twins on Aug. 28, 2016, the Blue Jays fans showed him similar love with a smattering of caps: