Many worthy choices for 2020's Most Valuable Oriole -

Rich Dubroff

Many worthy choices for 2020’s Most Valuable Oriole

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—In many years, the Most Valuable Oriole is an obvious choice. This is not one of those years.

With 18 games remaining in this 60-game season, there isn’t a clear frontrunner for the award, which is voted on by the local media.

There seemed to be a leader until rightfielder Anthony Santander suffered an oblique injury on September 4th, ending his season. Santander, who played in the Orioles’ first 37 games, still leads the team with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs despite missing the last five games.

He had the Orioles’ longest hitting streak in more than six years, an 18-game run from August 5-23.

When the streak concluded, Santander was hitting .287, and his average has dropped to .261.

Santander’s OPS is .890, and he’s played an excellent right field with four assists.

Although it might not be conventional to choose a Most Valuable Oriole who will miss more than a third of the season, it wouldn’t be the wildest thing that happens in 2020.

Santander’s principal competition comes from second baseman Hanser Alberto and shortstop José Iglesias.

Alberto is the club’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given for excellence on the field and charitable works. Last year, Alberto was a surprise contender for the American League batting title when he hit .305, including .398 against left-handers, So far this year, he’s proven his first full big league season was not a fluke.


Alberto is hitting .311 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. In 28 at-bats against left-handers, he’s hitting .429.

Last season, Alberto drew only 16 walks in 550 plate appearances. This season, he has only five walks in 170 plate appearances.

Iglesias, who signed a one-year contract with an option for 2021 in January, has some terrific numbers.

In just 26 games, Iglesias has hit .376. Iglesias missed 10 games last month when he was placed on the 10-day injured list because of left quadriceps muscle injury, which continues to hamper him.

On Sunday, manager Brandon Hyde acknowledged that he’d have to manage Iglesias’ injury as he raved about his shortstop’s grit and said the team was clearly better with him in the lineup.

When Iglesias starts at shortstop, the Orioles are 9-6 but when he’s the designated hitter they’re just 2-6.

Thirteen of Iglesias’ 38 hits are doubles, but he doesn’t have a home run. Like Alberto, he neither strikes out much (13 times in 106 plate appearances) and hardly walks. Iglesias has just two walks.

Iglesias has a .901 OPS, Alberto’s is .756.

Pedro Severino might also get some votes. In 35 games, Severino is hitting .322 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. His .913 OPS is higher than Iglesias’ and Santander’s.

The Orioles’ record is 12-10 when Severino is the starting catcher. It’s 5-10 when Chance Sisco starts. In games started by third-string catcher Bryan Holaday, the Orioles are 3-2.

If you’re thinking that Ryan Mountcastle might get some votes, well, that’s possible.

In his first 17 games, Mountcastle’s OPS is an eye-popping 1.075, and if he plays in each of the remaining 18 games, the rookie leftfielder will have played in 35, just two fewer than Santander.

Just as a vote of Santander might be unconventional, so might a ballot for Mountcastle, but if he keeps up his pace, the choice could be defensible, especially if the team plays well.

There’s no obvious candidate from the starting rotation, but if you think any pitcher deserves some attention, take a look at Tanner Scott.

Scott has a 1.53 ERA with a save. In 17 2/3 innings, Scott has allowed just nine hits and struck out 19. Walks continue to be his weakness. He’s averaging 4.1 per nine innings.

In such a short season, a good or bad week can easily sway opinion. My vote is clearly up for grabs. Whoever wins the award can be proud of being part of the most surprising and surprisingly watchable Oriole team in many years.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. spwagner44

    September 11, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I think Anthony S. , or maybe Cedric ?

  2. musicmanjr

    September 11, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Hanser Alberto is the MVP for what he does on the field and for the energy he brings to the clubhouse.


      September 11, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Hanser is a good guy and he hits for average, but he is a one tool player. He doesn’t hit for power or run well. He can’t field or throw.

      • musicmanjr

        September 11, 2020 at 8:35 am

        VICTORTEE, who is your choice for MVP? BTW, I think Alberto consistently beats out ground balls and bunts for hits.

  3. Orial

    September 11, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Excellent topic. Have been wondering this myself. My vote goes to Severino and that’s before I even realized his 12-10 record as compared to Sisco’s 5-10. He is an offensive force possibly being the AL’s most complete catcher. Alberto as runner up. Santander kinda faded.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 11, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Before jumping on the SIsco vs. Severino/Holoday win loss records as being tied to who’s catching as the primary factor, my guess is that it’s probably also got a lot to do with whether or not the O’s are facing a left handed starter vs. a righty. Remember, Sisco usually only starts with the O’s are going against a right handed pitcher.

    Rich .. I’d be interested in knowing what the O’s record is when facing a left handed starter vs. a right handed starter, and seeing if there is a correlation.

    Of course if any of my research minded co-readers wants to look that one up, please feel free to enlighten me.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Ken, in 42 games, the Orioles faced 35 right-handed starters and seven left-handed starters. Sisco has not started any games against left-handers. They’re 4-3 in starts by left-handers.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 11, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Wow Rich … That was certainly a fast response, and certainly doesn’t fit my narrative! Tip-o-da-cap to Pedro!

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Although Santander and Mountcastle are unquestionably our best and most valuable players going forward, I believe your MVP for the season has to somebody that’s been available for the bulk of the year. Hanser Alberto would be my choice.

  6. afterp

    September 11, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I would have gone Santander if he hadn’t gotten hurt, but now I think it’s Severino. Not only his hitting but working with so many new and young pitchers. When he doesn’t play his absence is definitely felt.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 11, 2020 at 10:39 am

      With all due respect, I can’t buy that. Although he’s been stellar offensively, his defense has be suspect at best. As far a working with the pitchers, who knows? Although, he IS certainly a team MVP candidate.

  7. willmiranda

    September 11, 2020 at 10:00 am

    All due respect to Santander, but finishing with a .262 average and missing a third of the season puts him off my list. I doubt that giving position players a win/loss rating, like a hockey plus/minus, is particularly useful except to reinforce an established perception. This year especially, there are too many variables and too small a sample. I do not have a favorite myself; I think i’ll wait until after the playoffs. But if DJ keeps hitting like a young Chris Davis, he’ll be hard to ignore.

  8. mmcmillan1123

    September 11, 2020 at 10:38 am

    How about a group MVP for the whole team. Nobody has separated himself from the the pack yet everybody has excelled at one time or another. Except maybe Chris Davis but he can be a MVP by sitting out the rest of the season.

  9. CalsPals

    September 11, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    All things being equal, it would be hard to argue against a few of these guys, I think I’d go with Alberto, seems to bring a nice energy level to the team as well…go O’s…

  10. TxBirdFan

    September 11, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    I’d vote for Alberto. I really believe he should have been our All-Star rep last year and all he’s done is continue to be in the top 10 for American League hitters this year. He’s a veteran leader due his just reward.

  11. Bancells Moustache

    September 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    I’m going to table this question to the end of the year, since DJ Stewart woke up one morning and transformed into ‘56 Mickey Mantle, Cedric Mullins became the black Tris Speaker and Ryan Mountcastle doesn’t just look like an OMVP candidate but a bona fide AL ROTY dark horse as well.
    I will say my pick as they begin down the stretch is probably Sevvy, who is having the least talked about .322 season for a catcher I can remember. Hell, have the Orioles EVER had a catcher hit over .320?

  12. WorldlyView

    September 11, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Choosing a single MVP after a very limited number of games played when no one has clearly demonstrated value above and beyond his teammates is, in my opinion, an unacceptably arbitrary process. A fair and defend-able selection does not seem possible. No one is likely to garner a convincing majority of votes. Maybe it’s too late to make changes in this pseudo beauty contest (who makes the rules, anyway?). Nevertheless, I think what makes most sense is for those having a vote to submit a list of several players who have demonstrated “outstanding” performances in the games played to date. The 4 or 5 players suggested multiple times in the comments above all legitimately belong on this list.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 11, 2020 at 4:04 pm

      Rich makes the rules. And I think he’s just having a little fun. No game played yesterday and he’s giving us something to talk about. I’m sure this will be revisited at a later date.

      Maybe we should be discussing who’s most likely to be named the World Series MVP after the O’s win it all? Is that within the rules Rich?

      • Rich Dubroff

        September 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm

        Ken, I don’t make the rules. In this case, unlike the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, which are sanctioned by the Baseball Writers Association of America, this is awarded by the team and voted on by local media.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 11, 2020 at 6:02 pm

          But Rich, you make the rules as to the content of this site Rich. It was a great topic which was well responded to by your readers.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 11, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Professor Cohen, we vote for first, second and third place. I’m not close to making up my mind yet.

  13. CalsPals

    September 11, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Definitely not Cobb, looking like his normal self, 1 batter, HR, oh well, pitch the younger guys…go O’s…

  14. Hallbe62

    September 11, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Severino or Alberto. But Severino has been frustrating with the amount of “passed balls/mishandled pitches in the dirt”.

    • Hallbe62

      September 11, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      That’s 3 already today on Severino ! And I’ve witnessed half a dozen others already.
      If he wasn’t raking at the plate……

    • CalsPals

      September 11, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      Severino loses my vote with his lack of solid defense behind the plate, unfortunately, especially game 1…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      September 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      I agree on Sevy, to many passed balls and even dropped one out of his hand on a steal today. He came here for his defense but learned how to hit. CD tonight can’t wait. He’s earning his money

  15. Raymo

    September 11, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Since there are no rules, I’m gonna write in a vote for my favorite new Oriole, the 35 year old Cesar Valdez with his 0.00 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 9 Ks in 7.1 innings. Show ‘em how it’s done Cesar!

  16. Birdman

    September 11, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Would vote for Iglesias, if he hadn’t missed a chunk of the season, so I’ll go with Alberto for durablity and consistency.

    Another Cobb masterpiece … between Crush, Ubaldo, and Cobb, $268 million spent – has any other team had three high-priced flops of this magnitude in the last 7 years?

    • CalsPals

      September 11, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      Ubaldo was a bust, but at least he had some good starts, WON games in Baltimore, & was healthy…go O’s…

      • Birdman

        September 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm

        Agree that Ubaldo was less of a disaster than Crush or Cobb, but as the saying goes, that’s damning with faint praise.

    • CalsPals

      September 12, 2020 at 7:45 am

      Agree, I honestly never thought there might be a worse pitcher sign than Ubaldo, then along comes Cobb…go O’s…

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