Baltimore Orioles: September Belonged To Trey Mancini
Trey Mancini is wrapping up his big 2019 season with a monster month of September for the Baltimore Orioles.
Earlier this season, the staff here at Birds Watcher conducted a roundtable discussion about our thoughts and observations from the first few weeks of the season, including our thoughts about Baltimore Orioles third-year man, Trey Mancini.
When asked about whether or not the Orioles should trade Mancini at some point in 2019, we all agreed that Mike Elias should move the first baseman/outfielder as the organization continues to replenish and stockpile talent down on the farm. Most respondents in our poll shared those same sentiments. Now here in late-September, I would like to take my answer back.
Mancini struggled during his sophomore campaign, hitting .242 with a .299 on-base percentage and an OPS of .715, more than 100 points lower than his rookie OPS of .826 which helped him finish third in American League Rookie of the Year voting. He still has three more games to go in 2019 to add to his stat line, but Mancini has blown away expectations this season and posted career-highs across the board.
Heading into the series finale against Boston, Mancini is slashing .291/.362/.535 with 34 home runs, 38 doubles, 94 RBI, and 104 runs scored. His walk rate is way up, his strikeout rate is way down, and his wRC+ of 132 is 41 points higher than his 2018 production. Even more important than the numbers, Mancini is taking on the role of clubhouse leader.
Mancini was quoted in a recent piece from MASN’s Steve Melewski as saying, “I’m definitely more a lead-by-example type,” Mancini said during the Toronto series. “I’ll say some things if I really need to. But moving forward, I think I can take on more of a vocal role.” “That is my goal, really, going into next year, to try to develop in that role.”
Over the last few weeks, messaging from the organization and beat staff points to more of a likelihood that Trey Mancini stays in Birdland, moving forward. A trade is still on the table, but a new contract to confirm Mancini’s place as the face of the franchise early in the offseason would give Orioles fans something to rally around this offseason, especially if the only real free agent activity is going to be a handful of minor league deals.
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At the plate, Mancini has been an unbelievable presence during the month of September. In 23 games, he’s hitting .376 (35-93) with five home runs, eight doubles, and 20 RBI. His 1.058 OPS and 175 wRC+ in September both rank in the Top 16 in all of baseball. Only Tim Anderson (37) and Yoan Moncada (38) of the Chicago White Sox have more total hits this month. I’m not sure what’s going on Chicago lately, but I’m assuming their rebuild is going well.
His monthly high for total hits is 39, achieved during the first month of the season, while his seven home runs in July were a season-high. Three home runs in three games may be a stretch, even in today’s baseball environment, but four hits to set a new high is a real possibility. If he can break 39, it will come in fewer games played than his opening month.
This season against Boston, Mancini has hit .381 with a .466 OBP, 10 doubles, and four home runs in 16 games. He’s 10-26 with six doubles at Fenway Park, where Baltimore ends their season with three weekend games. Hopefully, he puts on one last show in 2019 to end another down year for the Orioles on a high note.
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