A year ago, the Orioles had the major league-leading home run hitter, Chris Davis, and he finished third in the AL MVP voting. Nelson Cruz did not get nearly so much respect, finishing in seventh place with a total of 102 points. The Angels' Mike Trout was the unanimous winner after two years where he was robbed of the award by the baseball writers.
Adam Jones appeared on a number of ballots as well, fewer and farther down, and placed in 14th. His career best is 6th. This time around, one lone voter placed him 5th. Others had him lower. Jones was arguably the better player for the Orioles this year, owing to differences in defensive value in baserunning, but there is something about a guy who hits 40 home runs.
The players who finished ahead of Cruz were: Detroit's Victor Martinez, Michael Brantley of the Indians, Chicago's Jose Abreu, the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, and Seattle's Robinson Cano.
The MVP ballots were submitted by two BBWAA members from each league city, with ten spots on the ballot. A first place vote is worth 14 points, a second place vote is worth 9, third place is worth 8, and so on. Cruz received six third-place votes, which tied for the most of any player, but he was only named on 17 out of the 30 ballots.
Neither of the Baltimore-based writers for this award are Orioles writers. ESPN's Tim Kurkjian had Cruz in 5th, while USA Today's Paul White had him 7th. Neither one voted for Jones at all.
Five of the six third place votes for Cruz came from writers in other AL East cities. Perhaps the fact that he wasn't very good defensively hurt him in the eyes of some voters, although, given that it's the BBWAA, some Biogenesis-related sanctimony was probably at play, conscious or not. Still, the six players who finished ahead of him all had pretty dang good years, so it's hard to complain too much.
Some writers had weird down-ballot votes like the guy who voted Greg Holland in 5th, but that writer had one of the third-place Cruz votes. The other writers to vote for off-beat players (LA's Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols both got token votes) also supported Cruz on their ballots. Some people just left him off. They probably won't be losing any sleep over it, and probably neither will Cruz.
You can view the full list of results, voters, and their ballots here.
The last MVP award for the Orioles franchise remains Cal Ripken's win in 1991. He is the only multi-MVP winner in O's history.