Mountcastle's Rookie of the Year snub; Orioles hire 2 hitting coaches -

Rich Dubroff

Mountcastle’s Rookie of the Year snub; Orioles hire 2 hitting coaches

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Oriole fans reacted negatively last week when first baseman Ryan Mountcastle wasn’t named one of three finalists for American League Rookie of the Year. Their reaction was even more negative on Monday night when Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena won the award and Mountcastle finished sixth.

Mountcastle, who hit 33 home runs, was named on just six of 30 ballots.

This past season was an unusually strong one for rookies. Eight rookies received votes. Another strong one, Boston reliever Garrett Whitlock, wasn’t named on a single ballot.

Mountcastle got off to a slow start, had poor defensive metrics (a -1.5 WAR—Wins Above Replacement) and played on a team that lost 110 games. Many have pointed out that Mountcastle was the pick in the MLB Players’ Choice Award, claiming that the players know who the real Rookie of the Year is.

While I value the opinion of players and have regularly asked for their input before casting a ballot, they don’t take the time to research the candidates as the overwhelming majority of voters do. Their research is up close and personal.

I didn’t have a vote for Rookie of the Year. Mine was for Manager of the Year, which will be revealed on Tuesday night. It’s an honor to vote, and I spend days researching the candidates.

I would have voted for Arozarena first, Cleveland reliever Emmanuel Clase second and Mountcastle third. Arozarena was named on 28 of the 30 ballots and received 22 first-place votes. Houston right-hander Luis Garcia was second, and Arozarena’s teammate, Rays shortstop Wander Franco, was third.

Clase finished fifth and received one first-place vote and two second-place votes.

The two Baltimore voters, longtime Baltimore Sun writer Peter Schmuck, who’s now retired, and’s Joe Trezza had Mountcastle second and third, respectively.


New hitting coaches: The Orioles’ two new hitting coaches, Ryan Fuller and Matt Borgschulte, exemplify a trend in baseball. Neither has major league experience. Fuller played just 32 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Rookie League team in 2012, and Borgschulte didn’t play professionally at all.

Just two of the Orioles’ eight coaches, assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes and first base coach Anthony Sanders, played in the big leagues. Holmes played 13 years for eight teams, including the Orioles, and Sanders was in only 13 major league games.

Manager Brandon Hyde never played in the majors, and the two most successful Oriole managers, Earl Weaver and Buck Showalter, weren’t major leaguers, either.

It’s interesting that Fuller, who was Bowie’s hitting coach in 2021, and Borgschulte, who coached at Minnesota’s Triple-A St. Paul last season, will be co-hitting coaches. Will they each be responsible for certain hitters?

Injury update: Last week, the Orioles provided an update on outfielder DJ Stewart’s right knee surgery. Monday, they had updates on three more.

Left-hander Keegan Akin, who ended the season on the 60-day injured list, had a hip adductor repair. The Orioles said he’ll “be back to a normal offseason program within a few weeks and on track to be a full participant in spring training.”

Infielder Ramón Urías, who ended the season on the 10-day inijured list, and outfielder Austin Hays had core repair, the team said.

They “are both completing all milestones, participating in all post-op rehab, and are a few weeks away from normal offseason hitting work and on track to be full participants in spring training.”

Hays, who has had a history of injuries, returned from two stints on the injured list because of hamstring strains, and played in a career-high 131 games. He missed just one game from June 15th through the end of the season.

Hays hit eight homers, drove in 22 runs and had a .921 OPS after September 1st.

40-man roster thoughts: The Orioles have eight open spots on the 40-man roster and must add players from their organization by Friday. Assuming they want two spots left for Rule 5 selections next month, they probably will add between four and six players.

Besides pitchers DL Hall, Kyle Bradish and Kevin Smith and infielder Terrin Vavra, all expected to be added, they could pick another player or two.

It will be interesting to see if left-hander Nick Vespi, who was re-signed to a minor league contract last month, will be one. He’s a 26-year-old left-hander who is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in nine games in the Arizona Fall League and pitched a hitless inning, allowing a walk and striking out a batter in Saturday’s Fall Stars Game.

Julio Lugo dies: Longtime major league infielder Julio Lugo died at 45, presumably from a heart attack, it was reported. Lugo, who would have turned 46 on Tuesday, played for seven teams, including the Orioles in 2010, in a 12-year career that ended in 2011. Lugo, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn, played 93 games for the Orioles in 2010, hitting .249.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    November 16, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Over 800 voters who play the game vs 30 some who have not, votes by peers definitely mean more to players than the media, congrats Ryan on your ROY award…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 8:21 am

      One of my issues is that we don’t know how many players voted and how they voted. You do know how each of the 30 writers voted.

      • flyer574

        November 17, 2021 at 4:38 pm

        Those who can do. Those who can’t, write about it. Old Confucius saying.

    • CharmtasticGuy

      November 17, 2021 at 7:42 am

      The baseball voters gave Ryan the snub based on the Orioles team record. If the O’s went from worst to 1st he would’ve gotten more attention and more votes. He’s only going to get better and one day hopefully is on the MVP ballot. With that swing of his there will be plenty of homers hit to Eutaw Street that travel halfway down the Charm’tastic Mile. Good luck to him Ced Mullins, Trey-Day and the rest of the team for a better 2022!

  2. Orial

    November 16, 2021 at 8:03 am

    800 who play the game vs 30 who write about the game. Kind of a precursor to the “Work Stoppage” talks coming up? DJ Stewart and Donald Trump–no matter what they do or don’t do we’re always talking about them. Saw this suggestion from one of yesterday’s posters and thought it had some credence–“how about announcing the award winners during the WS”? Lucky if you could name one out of fifive fans who could even name the winners now. Ohhh baseball what are we gonna do with you?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 8:23 am

      Al, if you go back a few weeks, you’ll see I suggested an awards night on the day before Game 3 of the World Series.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 16, 2021 at 8:08 am

    While it’s a fact that Brandon Hyde never played in the Majors, it’s debateable as to if he’s ever managed a major league team either.

    ROY comes down to WAR most likey. An arbitrary, non-standarized formula which I’m sure 95% of the voters would not be able to mathmatecially resolve.

    Looking at the counting numbers, I can see the argument for either for Arozarena or Mountcastle. The rest of the field lags behind those two. Granted,I didn’t spend days researching.

    • CalsPals

      November 16, 2021 at 8:22 am

      A competent person wouldn’t need to spend days making a decision…just saying…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 8:24 am

      Ken, focus on how good the field was. I can’t remember a deeper class of rookies.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 16, 2021 at 9:29 am

        Perhaps that’s a difference of being a writer/professional, and merely being a fan.

        For me,as a fan, it’s O’s first, last and only. I’m not saying I can’t be objective, it’s just that it’s personal to me. I feel as if one of ours has been greatly disrespected for whatever reason. Ryan will never have a chance to win this award again.

        Frankly, writers and voters are not always as objective as they should be. (present company excluded of course)

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Ken, I don’t expect Orioles fans to agree with my analysis. If you and many others weren’t passionate about being fans, this site wouldn’t exist.

      If Ryan goes on to have the career you and I think he will, his being overlooked now will mean little. Go back and look at the list of Rookies of the Year. Ripken and Murray won it, but so did Bob Hamelin and Pat Listach.

      Interestingly, Ryan was one of just three players to get votes two years in a row.

      • willmiranda

        November 16, 2021 at 12:01 pm

        Does this mean that if I agree with your analysis, I’m not an Orioles fan? Rather than fret over the award, I’d rather question why the team doesn’t give him a raise or at least a bonus for his excellent year. You know, something to take to the bank rather than put on a mantelpiece. I agree that I expect Mounty to have a career that will make the RotY moot.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 16, 2021 at 5:36 pm

          Hey, money and fame and a long and successful career are all great things,but winning a ROY award is a slice of immortality. (and chicks dig’em as well)

      • Buzz1979

        November 16, 2021 at 12:02 pm

        BLOB Hamelin!

  4. Birdsfan

    November 16, 2021 at 8:20 am

    “It’s interesting that Fuller, who was Bowie’s hitting coach in 2021, and Borgschulte, who coached at Minnesota’s Triple-A St. Paul last season, will be co-hitting coaches. Will they each be responsible for certain hitters?”

    Co-hitting coaches is an approach used by several major league teams, most notably the San Francisco Giants last year.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 8:34 am

      The Mariners just named co-hitting coaches yesterday, too. The Giants now have a hitting coach and TWO assistant hitting coaches, one of whom is the Director of Hitting.

      The game has changed quickly, Birdsfan.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 16, 2021 at 9:35 am

        The “Director of Hitting”?

        I just peed myself.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 9:47 am

      Ken, Chris Holt also has the title, Director of Pitching, but I don’t want to add any additional stress to your day.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 16, 2021 at 11:16 am

        Funny Rich. 🙂

  5. Orioles20

    November 16, 2021 at 9:41 am

    I think the two hires of hitting coach are great. Fuller has been throughout the organization and the results speak for itself. The other guy seems legit too. The twins have been able to develop hitters and he also worked with the cardinals too. All the core injuries might be the reason why they fired the strength and conditioning coach. Seems like a good reason to fire him.

    • CalsPals

      November 16, 2021 at 11:36 am

      I mentioned wayyyy back similar sentiments regarding their strength & conditioning coaches were not doing a good job for obvious reasons, I was politely rebuffed, apparently I was on to something…lol…go O’s….

  6. Buzz1979

    November 16, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Players know best, so it’s still a snub!

  7. jimcarter

    November 16, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Player awards and other positive acknowledgements are going to be slow in coming. The franchise needs a credibility makeover. This regime hasn’t shown any movement in that direction. The waiver claims, the constant staff changes, the lack of extensions of quality players and the oddball moves (co hitting coaches?) just draw derision from the masses.

  8. dlgruber1

    November 16, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Rich, as someone who is not aware of teams having co-hitting coaches, I wasn’t aware Giants had them, do you have any knowledge on how that will work? My question, or perhaps more my concern, is one coach giving advice to a hitter that is opposed to what the other coach gave the same hitter, what happens then? I can picture egos getting involved and even potential players taking sides sort of things happening. Hitting coach isn’t something I’ve ever paid much attention to but I’m gonna keep my eye on that this season, as much as I can. Looking forward to hearing Palmer’s take on it.

    • CalsPals

      November 16, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      Totally agree DL, someone has to be accountable, not equally right/wrong…as I said earlier not a fan of co-positions, exactly for the reasons you gave…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 16, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      I’m eager to talk to both of them to find out the mechanics, whether each would get a certain number of hitters.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        November 16, 2021 at 5:55 pm

        I’m sure both new Co-Hitting coaches will be on the same page with regards to hitting and their hitting concepts or they both wouldn’t have been considered for the job. The Orioles promoted Ryan Fuller on the excellent job he did for Bowie and all the raves he received from players he handled this past year. And I’m sure Matt Borgschulte interviewed very well for the job and the Orioles know what he brings to the table from their research they did on his body of work and their discussions with the Twins organization and will be just as excellent as well. I’m sure both will be professional and won’t have any issues as some posters have mentioned. If they each have their own designated players to coach, I will be quite surprised. If a player/hitter for example approaches one of them, I’m sure that coach will deploy the same concepts in hitting as the other. I’m sure the reason the Orioles hired two co-hitting coaches was for the fact that they will have a lot of young players on the roster again this year so both coaches will be very busy.
        In regards to Ryan Mountcastle NOT winning the Rookie Of the Year Award, I was disappointed as an Orioles fan but I understand the reasons why he didn’t win it. The ROY award is NOT just about hitting home runs and your RBI’s numbers but your entire body of work including your WAR, fielding (including his terrible range in playing the outfield and his throwing to the wrong base earlier in the year as well) and base running numbers skills too! This leads to my discussion that I had earlier last year that José Iglesias should have won the Gold Glove award because HE HAD the better numbers in field pct and he had over 600 attempts too BUT he didn’t win it. That’s because the other player had similar numbers BUT with a lot more errors but he had better hitting statistics! The Gold Glove Award IS strictly on your fielding and not your hitting! And Iglesias wasn’t just a flash in the pan either! He was named the best defensive infielder in the Red Sox system by Baseball America from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, he was named the best defensive shortstop in the entire Eastern League, and received those same honors in the International League each of the next two seasons. And it carried over to the Majors as well!!! Just watch THIS PLAY! Just go to www “dot” golfdigest “dot” com “forward slash” story “forward slash” jose-iglesias-glove-flip-play (no spaces) – and you will see a should be Gold Glove player! This poser now knows how it feels to have someone he rooted for and wanted to win the ROY award AND DID NOT even though he thought he deserved it which he DID NOT.

    • CalsPals

      November 16, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Which pose was being struck?…go O’s…

  9. OriolesNumber1Fan

    November 16, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Poser – “a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person.” ..

    • Buzz1979

      November 16, 2021 at 9:08 pm

      Like Sam Darnold posing as an NFL QB!

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        November 18, 2021 at 9:20 pm

        Or like some people on this site posing as Oriole fans but are constantly criticizing everything the Orioles do or don’t do!!! Mike Elias took over on November 16, 2019 to start the full rebuild of the entire Orioles organization and he already built them the best farm system in less than 3 years!!! The Orioles never had the number 1 ranked farm system before in the history of the Orioles!!! But he does it in just 3 drafts with 1 being only 5 rounds and with no minor league season in 2020 to show the talent but does it in less than 3 years and never gets any credit from some of these posers!!!

  10. ptjhu

    November 17, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    Rich, I appreciate what you write and I really enjoy this web site — but I think you give too much credit and gravitas to the sportswriters. Buster Olney, Squeaky Kurkjian, Ken Rosenthal and The Athletic’s Dan Connolly all belched-up the same article on the Orioles and how there needs to be a floor/minimum amount that teams spend. It didn’t matter that none of them ever noted that Baltimore played in a Bataan Death March of a division where the other four teams won more than 90 games and were playoff-eligible till the season’s last weekend — that was a non-factor to their narrative. So the very idea that the quartet mentioned above put any thought into their collective ballots is specious, at best.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 17, 2021 at 1:32 pm

      Patrick, none of the four writers you cite voted for Rookie of the Year, but I know all of them and they do put quite a lot of thought and research into balloting.

    • CalsPals

      November 17, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      A big part of the reason the East had so many teams with 90 wins, they played the O’s so many times…go O’s…

    • OriolesNumber1Fan

      November 18, 2021 at 7:28 am

      A big part of the reason the Orioles had so many losses 110 was because they played the the Yanks, Bosox, Rays and Blue Jays so many times!!! Those teams are loaded and are a beast!!! If the Orioles played in the American League West, they had a way more respectable record. The Orioles had a 15-17 record against the AL West this past season. And where the Houston Astros, who played in the World Series this year, the Orioles record against them was 3-3 in 2021. So the rebuild is looking a lot better!!!

    • CalsPals

      November 19, 2021 at 7:42 am

      Just said that…go O’s…

  11. Mikepete73

    November 17, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    I would take the opinion of players over writers any day.

    • CalsPals

      November 17, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Absolutely…go O’s….

  12. Raymo

    November 17, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    I’m guessing Fuller will coach the righties, and Borgsy gets the lefties. Or is it the other way around? Either way, switch hitters will get attention from both.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top