BALTIMORE—Gunnar Henderson has been voted Most Valuable Oriole by the local media who cover the team.
Henderson, who is the favorite to be voted American League Rookie of the Year, is tied with Anthony Santander with 28 home runs for most on the Orioles, and his 82 RBIs are second to Santander’s 93. Henderson is batting .257 with an .818 OPS. He began the season poorly, and as late as May 29th, he was hitting .199.
Henderson, who has started 68 games at third base and 62 at shortstop, has a 6.1 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
“The numbers will be what they should be at the end of the year,” Henderson said. “My number one goal is to make the playoffs. We accomplished that and to make a really good playoff run. That’s been my goal, and I’m glad we’re able to do it this year.”
He’s the fourth rookie to win the award. Gregg Olson (1989), Rodrigo Lopez (2022) and Adley Rutschman (2022) were the others.
The 22-year-old made his major league debut on August 31st, 2022, but his 116 at-bats were 14 below the 130 that would have excluded him from rookie status this season.
“I had some success last year when I got called up, so I knew that I could do it. It’s just a matter of when … Obviously, not how you want to start the year like that,” said Henderson, who struggled early in the season. “Everybody goes through it, and I was just fortunate enough to go through it at the beginning of the year, get through it early. I was glad to go through it and learn how to go through it.”
Also named on ballots were Félix Bautista, Kyle Bradish, Ryan O’Hearn, Rutschman and Santander.
“There’s many guys deserving of it,” Henderson said. “To be able to be considered for this award is really humbling for me, and I’m really thankful was selected for it.”
I voted for Henderson, Santander and Bradish. Peter Schmuck voted for Henderson, Rutschman and Santander.
Holliday named top minor league player, McDermott top pitcher: Shortstop Jackson Holliday and right-hander Chayce McDermott have been named the Orioles top minor league player and pitcher.
Holliday and McDermott are currently with Norfolk, which will play Oklahoma City for the Triple-A championship in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The 19-year-old Holliday was the first overall pick in the 2022 draft and played at four levels this season: Single-A Delmarva, High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk.
He hit .323 with 12 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .941 OPS, and led the minors with 113 runs scored.
“It’s pretty crazy. It doesn’t feel like it’s over even though it’s our last game,” Holliday said in a video conference call. “It’s been quite a year to think about.”
Holliday played in the Futures Game in July and was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year. He’s also the top-ranked minor league prospect in Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and ESPN.
“This year has gone about as well as I could possibly imagine,” Holliday said. “My goal was Double-A. To be able to make to Triple-A is quite something. It’s been quite a year, and I’m happy with anything that went down.”
He was invited to major league spring training and in 2024, he’ll aim to begin the season with the Orioles.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “I’m in a lot different position than I was last spring training. Last spring training was awesome, such an unbelievable experience that I don’t think I would be here without it. It’s definitely going to be a little different next year, hopefully having a chance to make the club out of spring is my goal. If that doesn’t happen, whatever is the plan, I’ll be ready for it.”
McDermott, who was acquired from the Houston Astros in the trade that sent Trey Mancini to Houston in August 2022, was 8-8 with a 3.10 ERA and one save for Bowie and Norfolk. He struck out 152 batters in 119 innings.
A two-time International League Pitcher of the Week, the 25-year-old McDermott is the 10th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline and the 14th by Baseball America.
His goal is to make the majors in 2024.
“I’d like to believe I’m not that far,” McDermott said. “Obviously, it’s not up to me, that’s a question for some other people. For me, I feel like I’m right there. I’ve got to keep pushing at it, and hopefully some other people see it, too.”
Tides manager Buck Britton was named the winner of the Orioles’ Player Development Award. It’s the second time Britton, who’s in his second year managing Norfolk, has won the award.
Norfolk had many players who could have played in the major leagues with other clubs.
“We had a really good group, here man. Even the guys who come into the organization, they’ve done a very good job of vetting these guys,” Britton said. “It’s not hard. Everybody’s got moments. Everybody wants to be in the big leagues. Nobody wants to be in Triple-A. We understand that. These players have been exceptional. They’ve made my job a lot easier.”
Britton also won the award when he managed Bowie in 2021. He’s in his sixth year as a coach or manager in the organization.
Dave Jennings was named Scout of the Year. Jennings, who has been with the organization since 2002, signed infielders Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg, as well as minor league outfielders Hudson Haskin and Reed Trimble and minor league infielder Collin Burns. In the past, Jennings also signed Kevin Gausman, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters.
Note: The Orioles designated right-hander Jorge López for assignment and recalled left-hander Bruce Zimmermann from Norfolk. López, who was acquired by the Orioles off waivers from Miami on September 2nd and wasn’t eligible for the postseason, had a 5.25 ERA in 12 games. Zimmermann is 1-0 with a 5.56 in six games. He was 4-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 21 games for Norfolk.