Awards season should be a busy one for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Awards season should be a busy one for Orioles

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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After their outstanding regular season and what they hope will be a successful postseason, the Orioles should have a busy awards season.

It seems likely that Orioles will win two of the four awards voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and they should be heard from in many of the other honors that will be handed out this fall.

An Oriole hasn’t won the Most Valuable Player Award since Cal Ripken Jr. won his second in 1991, a year when the Orioles lost 95 games. While none will win it this year, infielder Gunnar Henderson and catcher Adley Rutschman could get some votes.

Steve Stone, who won a team record 25 games in 1980, was the last Oriole to win the Cy Young Award. The odds are against an Oriole winning it this season, but Kyle Bradish, whose 3.03 earned-run average is third in the American League ,should get some support if his last few starts are as strong as his recent ones. Bradish’s ERA was 4.25 on June 8th, and he has allowed four runs on 12 hits in 18 innings in his last three starts.

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Bradish’s ERA trailed only New York’s Gerrit Cole (2.90) and Minnesota’s Sonny Gray (2.98). Cole’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is 5.6 compared to Bradish’s 3.7, and he’s 13-4 and has struck out 195 batters in 180 innings while Bradish has struck out 136 in 139 2/3 innings. Barring a collapse by Cole in the final three-plus weeks and continued excellence by Bradish, it’s likely that the Orioles’ Cy Young drought will be extended.

Every American League team has had a Rookie of the Year winner since Oriole reliever Gregg Olson won it in 1989, and that streak should come to an end because of Henderson’s excellent all-around play. Texas third baseman Josh Jung was the early favorite, but he hasn’t played since August 6th because of a thumb injury. He may play some games later this month, but Henderson has surpassed Jung among oddsmakers. Boston first baseman Triston Casas is currently in second place.

I haven’t seen any recent odds for Manager of the Year, but Brandon Hyde should be a shoo-in. Hyde deserved the award in 2022 when the Orioles improved their win total from 52 to 83 but finished behind Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

Hyde’s main competition seemed to come from Texas’ Bruce Bochy, but the Rangers have slumped recently. Seattle’s Scott Servais and a perennial favorite, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash, could get some support, but Hyde is the favorite.

Buck Showalter was the last Oriole manager to win Manager of the Year in 2014.

There are may other awards that will be handed out, too.

Last year, Hyde won Manager of the Year awards by The Sporting News and Baseball America, and he should do so again.

Along with Showalter’s honor in 2014, Dan Duquette was voted The Sporting News’ Executive of the Year, and since 2018, MLB has awarded its own Executive of the Year. Mike Elias, the Orioles’ executive vice president/general manager, should win those awards for assembling a postseason team.

An Oriole player may not win a Silver Slugger award, though Henderson and outfielder Anthony Santander could be finalists, and despite committing just 53 errors, which was tied with the Rangers for the American League lead entering Wednesday night’s game, Gold Glove awards are notoriously difficult to forecast.

Henderson and Rutschman could be finalists, but it was shocking last year when Ramón Urías was awarded the Gold Glove at third despite starting just 84 games there. Urías has started only 63 this season.

There are no metrics for Manager of the Year or Executive of the Year. Those are largely “feel” awards. There aren’t any for the Comeback Player of the Year, either, though no one argued when Trey Mancini picked up both the one handed out by The Sporting News and MLB.com beat reporters in 2021.

While Ryan O’Hearn didn’t have a major injury and was never a star player, he has been an important contributor to the Orioles. O’Hearn’s contract was purchased from Kansas City on January 3rd, and he was almost immediately taken off the 40-man roster. Despite a strong spring training, O’Hearn didn’t make the team.

He wasn’t added to the Orioles’ 26-man roster until early April, and he’s set a career high in RBIs and batting average. His .303 average before Wednesday night’s game is far ahead of his .219 average in five seasons with the Royals.

Closer Félix Bautista seemed to be a sure thing to win the Mariano Rivera award for the American League’s best reliever until he suffered an ulna collateral ligament injury on August 25th. Even if Bautista doesn’t pitch for the rest of the season, his statistics are so dominant (8-2, 1.48 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 61 innings) that his achievement has been recognized.

While Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase, who  won the award last year, has recorded 39 saves to Bautista’s 33, his 2.81 ERA is nearly double Bautista’s and he’s struck out 58 batters in 64 innings.

Notes: John Means allowed three runs on six hits in five innings for Triple-A Norfolk in what should be his final rehab start. Means struck out four and walked two and threw 67 pitches. Means could rejoin the Orioles rotation for his next start. … Hyde told reporters in Anaheim, California that the Orioles would start Bradish, Jack Flaherty and Grayson Rodriguez this weekend in Boston and that Cole Irvin would go to the bullpen.

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