On the third day of August, the email hit my inbox. It was from one of those online betting sites, sharing the latest odds, running through a list of players that might lead the league in this or win an award for that.
Except, that is, for the
It's a two-man race now.
Donaldson and Trout each have 33 home runs. Donaldson leads the league in runs — Trout has led three years running — and in runs batted in. Trout has hit just as well as Donaldson with runners in scoring position, just not as often.
Trout has been on base more than any player in the league. Donaldson has the most extra-base hits. By wins above replacement value, Trout and Donaldson rank 1-2.
This is what got us from a rout to a race: Trout is batting .183 in August, with one home run and a .607 OPS. Donaldson is batting .303, with eight home runs and a 1.127 OPS.
This too: The Blue Jays are 14-4 in August.
"If you remove one guy from one team, which team suffers the most?" Angels closer
The Blue Jays would say the same about Donaldson, right?
"They would," Street said. "But look at their success, their surge as of late. They added
Trout might be baseball's alpha star, but Donaldson is no passing fad.
He finished fourth in MVP voting two years ago, in his first season as an everyday player, behind
"We were shocked to get him," Toronto Manager
In May, Donaldson got into a shouting match with, well, with much of the Angels dugout.
"He's got an edge about him," Gibbons said. "That can irritate some people. I saw it from the other side.
"He's been an uniter in our clubhouse. He's a happy-go-lucky guy. He has fun with his teammates. It was really something this team needed after the last couple of years, and he and
In the MVP race, the stretch run started Friday, when the contenders faced off in Anaheim. Donaldson doubled twice and drove in three runs, and the Blue Jays pummeled the Angels, 9-2. Trout went hitless.
"The best player in the game doesn't always have the best numbers," Price said. "Mike Trout is unbelievable, but what Josh Donaldson has done this year has been a little bit better."
Donaldson shrugs at the debate over whether he can unseat the mighty Trout as MVP.
"I take it with a grain of salt," he said. "I hope to help my team win. If I get recognized with awards at the end of the season, that's nice."
This is a good place to issue the annual reminder that the letter that accompanies the MVP ballot begins thusly: "Dear Voter: There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide."
Trout might well shake off that sore wrist and turn the race back into a rout. Or Donaldson might lead the Blue Jays to their first postseason appearance since 1993, as a city and country fall back in love with baseball.
What defines value? This year, it might just be September.
"You're playing your most meaningful games at the end of the year," Donaldson said. "They're probably going to be the most emotional games for your team. It's nice to be able to help your team win those games. If you perform well at that time, then you probably bring more value."
As the innings rolled Friday night, there were MVP chants heard in Anaheim. The rout was on, and the Angels fans were headed home. The chants were coming from a diaspora of Toronto fans dressed in jerseys bearing the names Donaldson and Bautista, even Alomar and Stottlemyre.
On this late night, the MVP chants in the House of Trout were directed at Donaldson.
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