Is Donaldson a legitimate MVP candidate?

Donaldson staying level headed with clinch looming

Is Donaldson a legitimate MVP candidate?
September 21, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Josh Donaldson's WAR (wins against replacement) rating of 7.9 is the best case for his MVP consideration. (AP IMAGES)

OAKLAND – The home crowd showed its love for Oakland A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson on Saturday.

Donaldson was serenaded to chants of “MVP! MVP!” during his final two at-bats in a 9-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He noted how much he appreciated the gesture, even if it didn’t bring him luck.

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Donaldson struck out in his final two at-bats to finish with a 2 for 5 day. He singled and doubled in his first two plate appearances.

“It’s cool, (but) I’m 0 for 2 with two punchouts with it, so I don’t know how good it is,” he said with a touch of humor.

Donaldson, having the best all-around season of any player on a team that’s about to win its division, is generating legitimate MVP discussion even outside of Oakland. He’s hitting .306 with 24 homers and a team-high 91 RBI to go along with stellar defense at third.

For new-age baseball evaluators, his WAR rating of 7.9 (as ranked by FanGraphs) is the best case for his consideration. WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is an all-encompassing stat used to judge a player’s overall value to his team, and FanGraphs gives him the third-highest WAR rating in the majors behind Angels outfielder Mike Trout (10.2) and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen (8.0).

"To be lumped in that classification with some of those guys -- do I necessarily think I deserve it? I don’t know," Donaldson said. "That’s for everybody else to decide. But I feel really good about where I’m at right now, and about being on this team and winning a lot of games.”