The Toronto Blue Jays finished in a tie for second place with the Baltimore Orioles this season in the American League East Division. The club put together an 89-73 record, just four games behind the division-winning Boston Red Sox.
The Jays then topped the O’s in dramatic fashion in the AL Wild Card Game, winning on a walk-off three-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the 11th inning at Rogers Centre.
Toronto then swept past the Texas Rangers in the NLDS before losing a five-game American League Championship Series to the Cleveland Indians.
Blue Jays Statistical Leaders
Encarnacion, the club’s DH, was an AL All-Star and one of their offensive leaders. He bashed 42 homers and 34 doubles to go along with 127 RBI, 99 runs scored, and a .529 slugging percentage.
The high-powered Jays offense had four other players each hit 20 or more homers: Troy Tulowitzki (24), Michael Saunders (24), Jose Bautista (22), and Russell Martin(20).
Second baseman Devon Travis led the club with a .300 batting average, smacking 28 doubles and knocking in 50 runs.
On the mound, starters J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada all had outstanding seasons. Trade acquisition Francisco Liriano also produced solidly after arriving on August 1 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Closer Roberto Osuna paces the bullpen.
Donaldson Is the Jays’ 2016 Top Player
But the Blue Jays’ top player this season was their third baseman, Josh Donaldson. He hit for a .284/.404/.549 slash line with 37 homers, 32 doubles, 99 RBI, and 122 runs scored. He recorded a .953 OPS while producing 7.4 WAR.
The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player was an AL All-Star for the third straight season. He also was awarded a second consecutive Silver Slugger Award.
Back in mid-August, Donaldson had a run-in with manager John Gibbons in the dugout after the third baseman slammed his bat down in frustration at striking out.
While the Player of the Year honors cover only performance in the regular season, Donaldson continued his clutch performances in the postseason for Toronto.
Prior to having a big game to help keep the Jays alive with a win in Game 4 of the ALCS, the 30-year-old took over the locker room with an impassioned speech.
“I’m not going to give too much away of what I had to say, but just more so getting everybody’s attention and focus and understanding,” Donaldson said per the Associated Press. “I mean, everybody knew coming into today how important today was. But at the same time I just wanted to kind of reiterate that and let the boys know that I was coming to play today.”
Donaldson comes to play every day. It is for that effort and leadership as well as his tremendous statistical season that Josh Donaldson is named the Toronto Blue Jays Player of the Year for 2016.