The Toronto Blue Jays are starting to play some better baseball in the month of May. As the weather warms so to do the bats that made this team one of the league's most dangerous lineups last season. Josh Donaldson is the epitome of that transformation.
Over the last seven days, he's hit .300/.364/.800 with three home runs, two of which came in a series opening victory over the Boston Red Sox Friday night. On the night he was 4-for-5 with five RBI on two-home runs, a double and a single. More importantly, Donaldson accounted for more than 60 per cent of the team's win with his offensive efforts according to WPA (win probability added) which seems like a more conservative measure if you ended up watching the way he took over that game.
Of course, this type of performance isn't all that surprising to anyone reading this. I mean, Josh Donaldson was the winner of the American League MVP last season. However, that performance hasn't exactly manifest itself thus far in 2016. Even accounting for last week's season-best performance, he owns just a .257/.353/.540 triple-slash on the season. While that's 43 per cent above league average according to wRC+, at least in terms of batting average there is plenty of room for improvement.
That improvement could come in terms of a little more batted ball luck that he's due to cash in on in the coming weeks. On the season his BABIP sits at just .267 which is far below his .300 career mark, suggesting better days are coming his way. This is further supported by his batted ball data which points to him hitting the ball harder than he ever has before. 43 per cent of his balls in play are considered to be hit 'hard' by Fangraphs measures which is remarkable when you factor in the fact that he's also reduced his soft contact rate.
There's no question about it, Josh Donaldson is an incredible player. He's game-changing, potentially even season altering. What he does on the field is rarely ever in question and what he's able to bring to a team off the field, is sadly unquantifiable.
In 2016 we haven't even seen his best despite leading the entire team in WAR by a large margin. That's should frighten you to your inner core. Will he continue to be the American League's most valuable player? Maybe not. But there's no doubt he's the Jays' heart and soul. He brings the rain to put out the flame of opposing pitcher's heat. That's not going away any time soon.