Good morning, Camden Chatters.
MLB’s awards season is upon us, and while the Orioles were shut out of the Gold Glove voting earlier this week, chances are they’ll fare much better in the Baseball Writers Association of America balloting. The four major BBWAA awards will be presented next week, and last night the three “finalists” for each category were revealed, including Gunnar Henderson for AL Rookie of the Year and Brandon Hyde for AL Manager of the Year.
That the two were finalists is no surprise. The only surprise will be if either of them doesn’t win, as both Henderson and Hyde are more than deserving of the accolades. Gunnar led all AL rookies in several major offensive statistics — including homers (28), RBIs (82), and runs (100) — while playing sensational defense at both third base and shortstop, emerging as the best player on the 101-win Orioles. By FanGraphs’ WAR, Henderson’s 4.6 far outpaces any other AL rookie, including the other two finalists, Guardians right-hander Tanner Bibee (3.0) and Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas (1.7), both of whom played for losing teams. It’d be hard for any voter, old-school or new, to make an argument against Henderson.
The Rookie of the Year winner will be announced on Monday, and barring a shocking upset, Henderson will be the first Orioles player to win a BBWAA award since Cal Ripken’s AL Most Valuable Player honors in 1991.
When the Manager of the Year winners are revealed next Tuesday, Hyde, too, should be a shoo-in for victory. Despite what you may hear from the Twitter trolls who complain about every O’s lineup Hyde writes, the skipper did a brilliant job guiding the Birds to the best record in the American League and their first 101-win season in 44 years. That he did it with a team that lost 100+ games three times in a row in the last half-decade, and was predicted by pundits to finish below .500 again this year, made the accomplishment all the more remarkable. I will say it’s probably a good thing for Hyde that the voting was conducted at the end of the regular season, not the postseason, or else Bruce Bochy would have a strong case based on the Rangers’ World Series win.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Orioles were as much of a non-factor in the BBWAA awards as they were on the field. Now the Birds have a successful, winning ballclub and some standout individual performances to go with it. Things truly have changed for the better.
Orioles roundtable: Looking at offseason’s top priorities, potential fits and more - Baltimore Sun
The three panelists each gave a different answer about the Orioles’ top offseason priority. For a 101-win team, it seems like the Orioles have kind of a lot of priorities.
Jon Meoli: Westburg’s rookie season is a lesson for other Orioles prospects - The Baltimore Banner
Westburg didn’t have a Gunnar-esque breakout as a rookie, nor did he have a Colton Cowser-like flameout. He just posted up, played good defense, hit decently but not spectacularly, and was a solid contributor. That’ll work.
These 5 infielders could make sense in Baltimore - The Baltimore Banner
I don’t really think adding any infielders from outside the organization makes sense for the Orioles at this point, but you never know if they’ll be scrounging for the next Adam Frazier or Rougned Odor.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: outfielder Dariel Álvarez (35), right-hander Kris Benson (49), and the late first baseman Bob Hale (b. 1933, d. 2012).
On this day in 1989, Orioles closer Gregg Olson became the first relief pitcher ever to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, earning the honors after posting a 1.69 ERA with 27 saves in 64 games. Among the other AL rookies that Olson bested in the vote was the Seattle Mariners’ 19-year-old center fielder, Ken Griffey Jr. (Things turned out OK for him.) Thirty-four years later, Olson is still the most recent Oriole to win Rookie of the Year, a drought that should end six days from now.