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Oakland's first half MVP, Donaldson shows no signs of slowing down
The biggest surprise, by far, for Oakland in 2013 has been Josh Donaldson.
Although he hit .290 in the second half of the 2012 season, it stood to reason that Donaldson might have played over his head. A slow start that saw him only batting .246 as of April 20 added to that suspicion.
Since then, however, Donaldson has been one of the best hitters in baseball, batting .352 over 153 at-bats and posting impressive numbers across the board.
He has a .322/.391/.521 split with nine home runs and 42 RBI. Those numbers rank sixth in the league in both batting and on-base percentage and seventh in slugging. While it does not usually factor into All-Star votes, Donaldson has been a revelation at third base, playing a legitimate Gold Glove-caliber defense.
Why he might not go: If Donaldson was to make it, it would have to be as a reserve. His banner year has the misfortune of happening as Miguel Cabrera is making a bid for a second straight Triple Crown.
That means the reserve position is likely going to be a battle between Donaldson, Baltimore's Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.
If Longoria ends up being Tampa Bay's lone representative, it would likely come at the expense of Donaldson, although Donaldson currently has a better average (.322 vs. .304), more RBI (42 to 38), a better OPS (.911 to .898) and better WAR (3.0 to 2.8).
Donaldson's numbers are better than Machado's as well (.322/.391/.521 vs. .315/.350/.480 splits). Unlike the first three players, Donaldson's potential to play himself onto the team is much higher, even if it required Jim Leyland to select three third basemen.