At long last, the results are in for the Most Valuable Player award voting, and once again, the Orioles have a player high up in the standings. Though no one was announced in the "finalist" trio, third baseman Manny Machado was the next highest finisher, placing fourth in the voting. Neither he nor we needed that validation to know that he had a great season, but it's nice to see an Orioles player getting that kind of recognition all the same.
Chris Davis was the only other Orioles player to receive votes. He finished in 14th place. Funnily enough, the wider baseball media has demonstrated a much more solid understanding of the relative value of Machado and Davis this season. You may recall that Davis was handed the Most Valuable Oriole award in balloting that was limited to local media. No, I don't get it either.
Voting is conducted by having two writers per league city fill out a ballot in which they pick their top 10 players. A first place vote is worth 14 points, a second place vote is worth nine points, a third place vote is worth eight, and so on, descending down to one point for a tenth place vote. Machado placed as high as third and was left off of three ballots entirely. Davis was named on only 11 of the 30 ballots, the highest of which were five votes for seventh place.
At the top of the ballot, there wasn't much question over whether Josh Donaldson or Mike Trout should win. Donaldson received 23 first place votes to Trout's seven. Trout was the easy runner-up with 22 second place votes; one person who presumably collects a full-time paycheck and benefits for covering baseball concluded that Nelson Cruz was a more valuable player this year than Trout. Third place went to Lorenzo Cain.
If you want to check out the full results for yourself, you can do so here.
Part of the fun for me always comes in breaking down who is, uh, out on a limb. Cruz over Trout by one Cleveland writer jumps right out, as does the New York writer who cast a fourth place vote for Kendrys Morales and turned out to be the only person who voted for Morales anywhere in their ballot.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the two fellows mentioned in the previous paragraph are two of the three who didn't vote for Machado at all. The third was a Dallas-based writer who once tweeted that MLB wouldn't need to use replay for Joe West's crew because he'd never seen West miss a call in 33 years. No, really. Of course, none of this matters in the grand scheme of things, but it's funny all the same. Dudes, were you even watching the games?
The Orioles have not had an MVP winner since Cal Ripken Jr. took home his second trophy in 1991. Since then, the closest anyone has come was a third place finish for Davis two years ago on the strength of his 53 home runs that year. Even then, he finished behind the otherworldly seasons of Miguel Cabrera and Trout.
As long as Trout is out there, you can figure it's going to be a while longer before an Oriole wins one, though if Machado is as good or better next year, he could creep up the standings. Does it really matter if an Oriole wins? Not really. It would be fun if they did, though.
Over on the National League side, Bryce Harper was a unanimous winner ahead of Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt. Putting up a 1.109 OPS will do that for a player. Holy crap.
Anyway, Machado is good. Extend him forever, please and thank you.