Toronto Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson dominated the 2015 Players’ Choice Awards. Winning not only Outstanding American League Player of the Year, Donaldson took home the top honor as the most Outstanding Player of 2015.
These awards seem to mean more to the winners than even the awards given out by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), Baseball America or the Sporting News Awards because they’re being honored by their peers. The other players in the league believe them to be the best and that truly is a real compliment to in most cases their skill on the field and sometimes off the field as well.
For each award handed out Monday night, the players (or the sponsors of the award – for example Majestic Athletic sponsors the Always Game Award) donate $20,000 to the charity of the winners’ choice. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, who was the Outstanding National League Rookie of the Year, was the only winner who was 100 percent set on which charity he was going to donate his prize to, the Wounded Warriors Project.
He noted that playing baseball is not only fun for him but it puts him in a position to give back and giving back to the men and women out there fighting for our freedom was the least he could do. Wise words coming from a 23-year-old who also said,
“It’s a huge honor for guys you play against day in, day out, to vote for you. My goal was just to play and help the team win, and I wound up being Rookie of the Year. It was a lot of fun.”
Donaldson and the Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones, who took home the prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award for his work on the field and in the community, said they were more “humbled” by the award than anything else.
“I’m more than humbled by the Players Association,” Jones said. “An award like this isn’t something you go out to win. This shows we’re human outside of the game, and we try to impact where we can.
“For what it means and who votes on it, this is the award that means the most,”Donaldson said. “It’s very humbling. There are a lot of great players out there. Honestly, it’s not something I looked to happen. Over the course of time, guys I play against know I’m out there to compete against them, and at the end of the day they respect that.”
Being so well respected by your peers is truly a great honor in any field of work. For Donaldson, winning the Outstanding Player of the Year Award means that the players respect him as the most well-rounded player on offense, defense, in the clubhouse and in the community.
Donaldson was the perfect recipient for the award and I can attest to this. I’ve been a fan of the “Bringer of Rain” since his days in Triple-A, way back when he was a just a catcher coming up in the Oakland Athletics’ organization. He is a generous individual, an amazing defender (just ask the tarp in Oakland) and an obvious power hitter. JD’s work on and off the field is exemplary and voting him as the Outstanding Player of the Year for 2015 shows that the players can see that.
The A’s clubhouse took a hit when Donaldson was traded. Outside of their bullpen, which was the main cause for the team having their worst season under new VP of baseball operations Billy Beane, clubhouse chemistry has been blamed for their terrible season. Most of that chemistry moved east when Donaldson was traded. As someone who isn’t that sold on “team chemistry” per se, even I could see the difference once JD was gone. He is truly a wonderful ballplayer and person. Congrats JD! You’ve earned it!!
Here is the complete list of winner of the 2015 Players’ Choice Awards:
- NL – Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
- AL – Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
- NL – Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
- AL – Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
Outstanding Comeback Players:
- NL – Matt Harvey, New York Mets (Tommy John surgery in late 2013)
- AL – Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers (neck surgery in 2014)
Always Game Award brought to you by Majestic Athletic:
- Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award:
- Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
Outstanding Player of 2015:
- Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays