The Orioles haven’t had a winner in the Rookie of the Year voting since Gregg Olson won in 1989. The year 2017 isn’t their year either, but Trey Mancini gave it his best shot with a strong rookie campaign. When the results of this year’s voting were released on Monday evening, Mancini finished in third place.
The winner, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, was more or less known since July. As the season moved towards its conclusion, the only question about the result of the ROY voting was whether or not Judge would be a unanimous winner. In the end, it was unanimous for Judge, hardly a surprise.
When “finalists” were revealed last week, Mancini was among them. That meant that he was at least in the top three, along with Judge and Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Voting for the Rookie of the Year awards is done by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Two members from each city in each league are chosen to vote on that respective league’s award. ROY ballots are simpler than some of the others, with just three spots to be voted on with a 5-3-1 point system. The player with the most points is the winner.
BBWAA writers also select the Manager of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP winners for each league by a similar process. All voting was completed before the postseason began. The results are just getting revealed this week.
Mancini came in third place with 31 points - five second place votes and 16 third place votes. That means there were nine voters who didn’t include him in their top three. Benintendi had 75 points, with 23 second place votes and six third place votes. Also receiving votes were Oakland’s Matt Olson and Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, each of whom ended up with five points.
Judge’s 52 home runs along with his batting line of .284/.422/.627 really speak for themselves. When a rookie like Judge puts up 8.1 bWAR, that’s unfortunate for every other rookie who might have otherwise stood out. Judge could end up being the American League MVP. Of course he’s the Rookie of the Year!
A dividing line between Mancini and Benintendi for second and third place is much less obvious. I expected Benintendi to receive a little bump by virtue of existing in the Boston media market, in addition to playing on a division winner while Mancini ended up on a last place O’s team.
There’s no question that Mancini outperformed Benintendi at the plate. Mancini had 50 points of OPS over Benintendi, and although Benintendi did have an edge with a .352 on-base percentage, it wasn’t by that much. Mancini posted a .338 OBP and outslugged Benintendi by more than 60 points.
In the field, the edge goes to Benintendi. This is not much of a surprise given that Benintendi, an outfielder, got to play his natural positions all year. Mancini, a first baseman, ended up in left field because the Orioles signed expensive first base/designated hitter types in Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo over consecutive offseasons while Mancini climbed up the minors towards Baltimore.
For the voters, at least, Benintendi was the clear pick for second place. It’s good to be on a playoff team.