Josh Donaldson is clearly the front runner for AL MVP

(Courtesy ofDan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

(Courtesy ofDan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO- The American League’s Most Valuable Player is awarded for not being the best player in the league. It’s for the recognition of a player making an immediate impact and demonstrates hustle, heart and sportsmanship. Josh Donaldson proves to be a worthy candidate to win such an accomplishment.

There’s lots more to like about Donaldson’s game other than his bat and glove. Sure everyone admire his .304 batting average, 36 homers, 110 RBIs and a .961 OPS. But every time that Donaldson steps up to the plate and hears the “MVP” chants, he would show a little bit of something extra to help his team win. He put on a display during the 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians last Wednesday.

When the 29-year old all star was on third base during the second inning, Troy Tulowitzki hit a pop-up to shallow right field, which was caught by Jason Kipnis. Then Donaldson tagged the base, ran straight toward home plate and made an terrific slide to avoid the tag from Yan Gomes to score a run. It is rare to see a base runner trying to score from a pop-up by a second baseman.

Later on, Donaldson used his same athleticism and aggression to stretch a single into a double in the 5th inning. Taking full advantage of Michael Brantley’s misplay in left field. Donaldson finished the game 3-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Defensively, Donaldson has been making great defensive plays all season long with his excellent range and instinct. His ability to impact on both offense and defense is a huge reason why he leading the American League with the most wins above replacement at 7.4. Only Bryce Harper (7.9) has more in the majors.

Donaldson is probably likely to go head-to-head with Mike Trout for the AL MVP race. With 29 games remaining, the Blue Jays’ third baseman is a leading contender. Though a lot can change from now to the regular season ended.

Donaldson is a huge reason why the Blue Jays are on pace to clinch the playoffs for the first time since 1993. But he proves to be more than a slugger. His competitiveness and baseball IQ’s is what the Blue Jays needed. That’s why he is considered to be one of the top players in the majors.

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