On Monday night, the top three finishers for each of the four season awards given out by the Baseball Writers Association of America were announced. Those awards are each league’s Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year.
Quite unlike recent years, Orioles fans will actually have a reason to pay attention to the results this year, with two people among the top three for their awards: Adley Rutschman for Rookie of the Year, and Brandon Hyde for Manager of the Year. The ROY result will be announced next Monday. Manager of the Year will be announced next Tuesday.
As a reminder, although the league likes to make a production out of this and call them “finalists,” these are just the top three vote-getters in already-concluded balloting. There will not be another vote to determine the winner among the finalists. Voting took place before the beginning of the postseason, so no one’s case will be positively or negatively impacted by anything that happened on the way to the Astros winning the title.
Each BBWAA chapter in a league assigns two writers to vote on each of the four awards. Cities with smaller media presences, especially where the big newspaper in town doesn’t let its writers vote for awards (as is the case with The Baltimore Sun), will sometimes have national writers assigned to fill out space.
For Rookie and Manager of the Year, there are three spots per ballot, with a point system of five points for a first place, three points for second, and one for third. The winner is whoever has the most points. The Cy Young has five spots on each ballot. MVP has ten. Those second two aren’t terribly relevant to O’s fans this year, though it may be interesting to see how much support Rutschman gets in the down-ballot votes when the full results are revealed for that next Thursday.
Along with Rutschman in the top three of ROY voting are Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez and Cleveland’s Steven Kwan.
Rutschman is probably not going to win. Rodríguez had the advantage of being able to debut on Opening Day and play the season out with a couple of small injury absences that didn’t keep him out as long as Rutschman’s spring training injury did. Rodríguez played in 138 games and posted an .853 OPS for the season along with 6.2 bWAR and 5.3 fWAR.
Adley came close, despite only getting to play in 113 games. He was the equal of Rodríguez in fWAR, trailing by a bit in bWAR at 5.2. Rutschman’s batting wasn’t as flashy; he “only” OPSed .806 and had 13 home runs to Rodríguez’s 28. I think Rutschman is a near-certainty to be the runner-up.
Under the new CBA rules, a player who finishes in the top 2 spots for Rookie of the Year is awarded a full year of service time even if he wouldn’t have qualified for it otherwise. Rutschman, due to his mid-May debut, would not have done so. In practical terms, this means that Rutschman will become arbitration-eligible after the 2024 season and will become a free agent after the 2027 season, instead of after the 2028 season. There is no reason to angst about this today.
You can angst a tiny bit, if you want, that the Orioles do not qualify for a new “prospect promotion incentive” bonus draft pick since Rutschman wasn’t able to be on the Opening Day roster.
An Orioles player hasn’t won Rookie of the Year since Gregg Olson took the hardware for his 1989 rookie season. We can hope Gunnar Henderson will spend 2023 pushing for worthiness to break that streak.
Hyde’s competition in the top three for Manager of the Year is Cleveland manager Terry Francona and Seattle manager Scott Servais.
Although the O’s came up short of a postseason spot, I don’t see how anyone could choose any person other than Hyde for Manager of the Year. The team was pretty close to the roster that won 52 games last year, except this year the club won 83 games, in defiance of nearly everyone’s expectations. No one would act like Hyde is the sole reason this occurred, but I think he helped nudge the whole thing along in ways fans will probably never know.
Francona and Servais, of course, were both managers of playoff teams who did not exceed expectations by nearly the level of the Orioles. Either one would probably be a deserving winner if it wasn’t for the 2022 O’s turnaround.
The last Orioles manager to win this award was Buck Showalter in 2014. He’s a finalist again this year for the job he did in his first season with the Mets. The others in the top three are LA’s Dave Roberts and Atlanta’s Brian Snitker.