BALTIMORE—Capping off an excellent season, Trey Mancini has been voted as the Most Valuable Oriole.
Mancini, who equaled his career-high with four hits on Thursday night, leads the Orioles with 34 home runs and 93 RBIs. He’s hitting .286, and his .356 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage give him an OPS of .892. All three figures easily lead the club.
In 2018, his second full season in the majors, Mancini hit .258 with 24 home runs and 58 RBIs. That followed his 2017 season, when he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .293 with 24 homers and 73 RBIs.
“I’m very proud of that,” Mancini said about his production this year.
“Especially after last year, the first half in particular was really tough, tough year. I always knew that I was still the player that I knew I was, but there was some doubt from maybe a lot of people, and rightfully so, whether I was more the 2017 or 2018 version of myself, and I always knew it was more the former.
“I wanted to go out this year and play my hardest and play with the team every night, and I knew if I did that, then on a personal level, I’d be happy with myself at the end of the year.”
The award is voted on by local media members who cover the club, and others who received votes were Hanser Alberto, John Means, Renato Nunez, Anthony Santander and Jonathan Villar.
‘Individually, we’ve had so many guys have career years here,” Mancini said. “So many guys that are deserving of this award. John Means made the All-Star Game. We’ve got [Alberto] competing for a battle title right now. Villar…I think might be the most underrated player in MLB. Any of them could have worn that award.”
Manager Brandon Hyde was pleased with the selection.
“It’s not a surprise to me,” Hyde said. “Well-deserved. He’s had an amazing year. He’s finishing the year extremely strong. He’s done everything for us this year.”
In his first year as a major league manager, Hyde was surprised by what he saw in his initial weeks with Mancini.
“I saw the intensity in spring training,” Hyde remembers. “I think it was his fourth or fifth at-bat, and he grounded out, and he was almost snapping in the dugout. I’d never really seen that from a player that was an everyday-type player that was getting his at-bats in during spring training.
“He’s so hard on himself. I talked to him a lot about that this year. He’s so competitive, so driven.”
Mancini, who was not named to the American League All-Star team, has had a great September. He’s hit .366 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 18 games. His OPS this month is 1.067.
“You’re not going to do that for a full season,” Hyde said. “He’s getting the ball in the air so much more now, and when he gets the ball in the air, good things happen.”
With a team that’s 49-104, Mancini doesn’t want to get used to losing, but he’s always agreeable, never turning down a media request.
“These losses hurt him,” Hyde said. “He takes them really hard…He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and I wish he would relax a little bit, but it really matters to him if we win or lose, so I give him a ton of credit for sticking with this and looking forward to the day when I see him on a winning club.”
Hyde thinks that Mancini would have even better stats with a competitive team.
“I never really set too many numerical goals,” Mancini said. “I feel you can stress a lot of the time and play for the wrong reasons in a way, if you do that.”
In July, it irked Mancini that he wasn’t named to the All-Star team.
“Certainly that was a little tough for me,” Mancini said. “I’m proud of myself for still plugging along without having it determine how my second half was going to go.”
At 27, Mancini is one of the older Orioles, even though he’s just completing his third year.
“I think you’re going to see Trey take on even more of a leadership role,” Hyde predicts.
“In the second half, I’ve seen that a little bit. He’s not the vocal guy. He’s really, really conscious of staying in his own lane. He’s very, very professional in that he doesn’t want to speak out of turn. Now it’s time, not just let his action show everybody what kind of player he is.
“He can lead guys in different ways. He’s really smart. He’s engaging. He’s fun to be around. Guys really respect him. He has a great attitude. As he gets more comfortable being in the big leagues and putting up years like he’s just put up, it’s going to be that more natural for him to pull guys aside and teach along the way as well.”
Mancini will be recognized on the field prior to Sunday’s game.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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