Donaldson is runaway winner for BBWAA AL MVP

November 19th, 2015

TORONTO -- The "Bringer of Rain" brought home a lot more than that on Thursday night when he became to the second player in Blue Jays history to win the Baseball Writers' Association of America American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Toronto's All-Star third baseman received 23 first-place votes and seven second-place votes from the 30 BBWAA voters. Angels outfielder Mike Trout finished second with seven first-place votes, 22 second-place votes and one third-place vote. Washington's Bryce Harper was unanimously voted the BBWAA National League MVP.

Donaldson joins George Bell (1987) as the only Toronto players to win BBWAA AL MVP honors. The latest was a well-deserved accolade, as Donaldson was among the league leaders in every major offensive category and finished the year hitting .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs. The 29-year-old is also vying to win Best Major Leaguer and Best Everyday Player in the Esurance MLB Awards, which will be unveiled on MLB Network and on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

"Our team really broke a lot of thresholds that this organization's had over the last 20-some-odd years," Donaldson said during a conference call with reporters after the award was announced. "Being able to win the division and then advance past the first round of the playoffs. Ultimately we didn't have our end goal accomplished, but Kansas City had a great team."

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain finished third in voting, but as expected this race came down to Donaldson and Trout. The pair had been battling for the honor since late July, and down the stretch it became a race that was almost too close to call. A case easily could have been made for each.
Donaldson had more runs (122 vs. Trout's 104), RBIs (123 vs. 90), and he ranked first in the league with 84 extra-base hits. Trout had the edge in OPS (.991 vs. .939), WAR (9.0 vs. 8.7) and on-base percentage (.402 vs. 371). The two tied with 41 home runs, and the stats were so even that voters likely had to search for other areas to create separation.

One of the deciding factors for Donaldson likely came with the direct impact he had on helping the Blue Jays win the AL East for the first time since 1993, while Trout's Angels missed the postseason. Donaldson had the edge in win probability (5.8 vs 5.3) and run expectancy (55.7 vs 52.5), which essentially means he did more to change his team's chances of scoring and winning games.

"Being a part of the Blue Jays organization, you realized that this team hasn't been in the postseason for 22-23 years," Donaldson said. "For our team, not just me, but for our team ... to not just make it to the playoffs but to win the division [was huge].

"For us to come out on top and really have some really big series against the New York Yankees, and to show up the way our team was able to, I definitely think that helped [the votes]."

Donaldson is the 10th player in MLB history to win an MVP Award after being traded prior to the season. He was acquired last November by former Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos in a blockbuster deal with Oakland for infielder Brett Lawrie and a series of top prospects.

It didn't take long for Donaldson to become a fan favorite in the city, and by the middle of the season he was frequently inundated with chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P" as he stepped to the batter's box. He later went on to win the Hank Aaron Award, a Silver Slugger and he was named the Players' Choice Most Outstanding Player for the 2015 season.

"It was probably two months left in the season when they really started chanting and doing that thing, but I understood, too, that there was a lot of season left," Donaldson said.

"My goals aren't necessarily to win the MVP but to help my team win and I feel like if you're successful in that all the awards and that jazz come along with it. I felt the fans supported me all year long and that was just another way they did that."

Donaldson is the sixth third baseman in MLB history to win the MVP. The impressive group includes: Miguel Cabrera (twice), Alex Rodriguez (twice), George Brett, Brooks Robinson and Al Rosen. It's the first time Donaldson won an MVP, but he finished fourth in 2013 and eighth in '14, both times with the A's.