The Blue Jays are headed to the postseason for the second consecutive year after winning an American League Wild Card. As this will be the first time that many fans across the Majors will be focusing on their roster, here's our attempt to learn the origins of slugger Josh Donaldson.Josh
The Blue Jays are headed to the postseason for the second consecutive year after winning an American League Wild Card. As this will be the first time that many fans across the Majors will be focusing on their roster, here's our attempt to learn the origins of slugger Josh Donaldson.
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Born: Pensacola, Fla.
HS: Faith Academy (Ala.)
Minors: AZL Cubs (Rookie), Boise (Class A), Peoria (A), Stockton (Class A Advanced), Midland (Double-A), Sacramento (Triple-A)
:: Before they were postseason-bound: Select a player ::
Path to Toronto: Donaldson was originally drafted by the Cubs in the first round in 2007. He was traded to the A's in 2008, while still in the Minors, as part of a package netting Chicago Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. After debuting with the A's in 2010, and playing four seasons for Oakland, Donaldson was traded to the Blue Jays following the 2014 season.
Trophy case: 2015 American League MVP, Hank Aaron Award winner and Silver Slugger, 2015 Players Choice Awards for American League Outstanding Player and Major League Player of the Year. Three-time AL All-Star (2014-16). AL Player of the Month for September 2013.
Famous feat(s): Led the Majors in runs scored in 2015 and 2016. Also led the AL in RBIs in 2015, and set the Blue Jays franchise record for highest single-season WAR. Since his first full season in 2013, leads all third basemen in home runs and runs scored. This season became the only third baseman in Blue Jays history to record multiple 30-homer seasons.
You might not know: Donaldson has been one of the most clutch players in baseball over the last two seasons. Since the beginning of 2015, 44 of Donaldson's 77 home runs have either tied the game or given the Blue Jays the lead -- more such homers than anyone else in baseball over that time span. He also has the third-highest Win Probability Added, behind only Mike Trout and Anthony Rizzo, and has the third-highest wRC+ in high-leverage situations, behind only Carlos González and Trout.
Six degrees of Willie Aikens: Donaldson is one of the many Arizona Fall League alumni to go on to star in the Major Leagues, and when he played for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in 2008, he was teammates with Nationals ace Max Scherzer. The next time they match up, it could be in the World Series. (Interestingly, also on the team was Sean Doolittle, who, well before he became the A's closer, was a position player at the time.)
From the land of the ice and snow: Donaldson is a big fan of the History Channel show "Vikings" -- it was the inspiration for his braided mohawk -- and he even got to make a cameo as a Viking himself in Season 4.
Donaldson tweeted out photos of himself in the show's Viking garb, and in a short video on the History Channel's Twitter account, he addressed his fans: "Hey, what's up. I'm excited to be a part of the 'Vikings' series. I've been working on this beard and this hair for months. Let's raid."
Viking-sized swing: Donaldson recently took to MLB Network's Studio 42 to break down the mechanics behind his majestic swing, with its large leg kick and sweeping one-handed follow-through. While doing so, Donaldson took the opportunity to debunk some older strategies of hitting, and dish out advice on how to drive the ball like he does.
"I'll tell you, if you're 10 years old, and your coach says get on top of the ball, tell him no," Donaldson said, pointing to the camera. "Because in the big leagues, these things they call ground balls are outs. They don't pay [me] for ground balls. They pay [me] for doubles, they pay [me] for homers."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler.