Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was named the Player of the Year by The Sporting News on Thursday, reflecting a league-wide poll of players. Bryce Harper, the standout outfielder for the Washington Nationals, was the runner-up.
Donaldson and Harper are considered favorites for the Most Valuable Player Award in their respective leagues and for the Best Major Leaguer category in the Esurance MLB Awards. Voting will remain open through Nov. 13 by visiting mlb.com/awards. Winners will be announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Nov. 20.
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Donaldson, a two-time All-Star, was acquired by Toronto in a blockbuster deal prior to the 2015 campaign, and he went on to lead all American League players in runs scored (122) and RBIs (123). The third baseman batted .297 with 41 home runs and helped lead Toronto to the AL Championship Series vs. Kansas City, where it fell in six games.
Donaldson, 29, was especially effective in the second half. The Pensacola, Fla., native hit .302 with a .396 on-base percentage and 20 home runs in 69 games after the All-Star break. The Blue Jays went 48-23 after the break and logged a 45-46 record before the break.
Donaldson received 151 votes in the Sporting News ballot, and Harper was the next closest player with 97 votes. Harper, 23, led all NL hitters in runs scored (118), home runs (42), on-base percentage (.460), slugging (.649) and OPS (1.109) in his breakthrough season.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.