The file on Josh Donaldson
Player of the year
Josh Donaldson was born in Pensacola, Florida, but raised in Daphne, Alabama. He grew up a Braves fan idolizing Ron Gant. Donaldson attended Faith Academy High School, where he was a three-year letter winner playing baseball, football and basketball. Donaldson was named the AISA Player of the Year and Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior after batting .515 with 54 RBI in 32 games. He set the single-season record for triples (6), doubles (21), hits (55), and RBI (54) at Faith Academy.
College years -- Auburn Tigers
Donaldson stayed close to home and played for the Auburn Tigers in the SEC. His first appearance for Auburn was as a pitcher, but later played catcher and third as a sophomore and junior.
Behind the plate
Donaldson was selected by the Cubs in the first round (48th overall) of the 2007 MLB Draft -- as a catcher. Despite being the Cubs No. 7 ranked prospect after the 2007 season, the 28-year-old was involved in a six-player deal when he was traded along with Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, and Eric Patterson to the A's for pitchers Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden on July 8, 2008.
First major league hit
Donaldson made his major league debut with the A's on April 30, 2010, when everyday catcher Kurt Suzuki was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The following day, he collected his first career hit -- a 2-run home run off Dana Eveland. Donaldson played in only 14 games that season and had five hits in 32 plate appearances.
Switch to third base
The "bringer of rain" traded in his catcher's gear for a third baseman's glove during spring training of 2012. Splitting time primarily with Brandon Inge to start the season, Donaldson became the A's permanent third baseman, appearing in 71 games and finishing with a .945 fielding percentage.
Donaldson hit his first career walk-off home run against the Detroit Tigers on April 12, 2013. His homer gave the A's their first walk-off win of a memorable 2013 season.
Donaldson played 158 games, batted .301, hit 24 home runs, drove in 93 RBI, and scored 89 runs in 2013. His contributions helped the A's become back-to-back AL West Division Champions. The A's finished the season with a 96-66 record, and Donaldson placed fourth in AL MVP voting. However, he wasn't selected to the 2013 All-Star game in New York, as he finished fifth in voting. Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado were selected to the game ahead of Donaldson.
Donaldson, the A’s emotional and vigorous MVP candidate, is finally being recognized by fans for his hard work and stellar performance in the 2014 season. He is well on his way of opening the Midsummer Classic for the A’s -- a feat that hasn’t occurred since Jason Giambi last did it back in 2000. According to MLB’s most recent All-Star voting update (June 8), he leads fan balloting for his position with 1,470,544 votes; and has the biggest lead over the runner-up of any position in the AL. In addition, Donaldson has a 1.9 WAR (wins above replacement), a .342 OBP (on base percentage), has committed the fewest errors at third, and has turned the most double plays at the hot corner. Even though Donaldson is currently in a slump and career-long hitless streak, he has helped the A’s become one of MLB’s best first-half teams.