When the top three finishers for American League MVP were announced, Orioles slugger Chris Davis cracked the top three, along with last year's winner and runner up, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.
With the bulk of the attention being given, deservedly so, to Trout vs. Cabrera, Davis and his third-place finish was no surprise. The Orioles did not make the playoffs and Davis did not have anything like the Triple Crown to boost his candidacy, though he did lead in two of the three categories that apparently made Cabrera worth so much to mainstream baseball writers last season.
Davis finished with one of the greatest Orioles offensive seasons of all time. His 53 home runs stand as most in franchise history, and represent the 26th-most in baseball history. He shows power to all fields. He batted .286/.370/.634 while playing in 160 games, with 155 starts in the field. In addition to leading the majors in home runs, he was also in the top ten in doubles, showing he is not merely a home run machine. He took 60 unintentional walks, the most in his career.
This was an impressive season, if not as impressive as the campaigns of Cabrera and Trout. Cabrera had a better batting line than Davis across the board, a .348/.442/.636 despite essentially being a statue for September, a month where he slugged only .333. Trout also brought an excellent batting line, hitting .323/.432/.557. The effect of the OBP over .400 is substantial. Trout also stole 33 bases in 40 attempts and brought speed and defense at a more premium position that neither slugger could match.
Despite Trout's superior performance for a second straight season, he again played runner-up to Cabrera in the eyes of the BBWAA members.
The Orioles have not had a player place so high in Most Valuable Player voting since Cal Ripken won his second MVP award in 1991. Miguel Tejada came in fifth in 2004.
Davis received one first place vote from a Boston-based voter who did not vote for Trout until seventh place. This person presumably gets a full-time salary and benefits from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to write about sports and he thinks there were six American League players better than Trout.
Davis appeared on all 30 ballots, with votes as high as first and as low as seventh. He had more fourth place than any other, but he also had four second place votes, which fourth place finisher Josh Donaldson did not.
Manny Machado joined Davis in the top ten, appearing on 22 out of 30 ballots ranging from fifth place to tenth place. That's about right for a player who was a wizard defensively at third base but just about average offensively.
Adam Jones received one fifth place vote and one eighth place vote, which is good for 13th place overall. The voter who gave Jones a fifth place vote was an Oakland-based voter who voted for Donaldson, Cabrera, Davis, and Trout in the top four.