A few Orioles might be taking home some hardware.
The Orioles have been much better than expected, now at 80 wins, and with better results come some accolades. There is no official reward for simply having a winning record but playing above .500 for a whole season means there have been some excellent individual performances. While the baseball world writ large has recognized the growth of the Orioles, the awards voters might do so, as well.
It’s not like any players are in the MVP or Cy Young races (maybe next year?), but you might see their names show up next to other notable awards. We know the front office has done a fantastic job building up the farm system, and the development group has turned around a number of careers, but Mike Elias won’t win Executive of the Year until they make the playoffs. If there was a coach of the year award it would definitely go to Chris Holt. Here are three people in uniforms who could win an award and the competition they are facing.
There is no rule stating the Manager of the Year must be coaching a playoff team, and Hyde is more than worthy. After three years of knowing he was not responsible for all the losing but wondering if he could win, we now have the answer. Hyde has done a phenomenal job getting the most out of his guys. He has pushed all the right buttons when it comes to the bullpen, and his pinch-hit moves haven’t been bad either.
So much of a manager’s job is behind the scenes and in the clubhouse, but it is clear the players respect and listen to him. The Orioles don’t get in fights often, but Hyde sticks up for them when the need arises without making a habit of yelling at umpires. Unlike other teams getting out of rebuilds, there will be no manager change in Baltimore.
Hyde has a realistic but unlikely chance at winning AL Manager of the Year because he has some stiff competition. Scott Servais is the favorite since he is leading the Mariners back to playoffs for the first time since 2001. Terry Francona has gotten the Guardians back to the postseason, and Dusty Baker has the best record in the league with the Astros.
The Orioles face of the franchise is quite obviously in the running for Rookie of the Year. Adley Rutschman now has over five WAR in just 106 games since debuting on May 21. He has 46 extra-base hits with an .804 OPS, which are good numbers for anyone, but they are elite for catchers. A huge part of his game is blocking balls and throwing out runners, but he has also handled the pitching staff well.
Speaking of defense, Rutschman is making the defensive metrics drool, and in turn he just might win a Gold Glove. Adley has a whopping 17 DRS, and Statcast puts him in the 80th percentile for pop time and 84th percentile for framing. I find it unlikely that someone would win a Gold Glove when only playing in two-thirds of an MLB season, but you never know.
Winning Rookie of the Year is more realistic, but Home Run Derby star Julio Rodriguez will be tough to top. He has a higher WAR total and OPS in more games, so even a drastic downturn in the final week probably won’t take away J-Rod’s crown. Coming in second would still be significant though for contract purposes. The Prospect Promotion Incentive in the new CBA gives teams extra draft picks for rookies winning awards, but more importantly for Rutschman, he will get a full year of service time for finishing first or second in ROTY voting. That means he will reach free agency a year earlier and therefore make more money by being a year younger.
Jorge Mateo has turned into a defensive wizard this season, and he might be the favorite to win a Gold Glove at shortstop. We all know speed is his calling card, but he has 13 DRS at the top of the defensive spectrum. Statcast similarly puts him in the 97th percentile in OAA. Almost every night fans are treated to Mateo making web gems on balls no one else can even reach.
Like Rutschman, the competition is fierce when talking about the toughest defensive positions. Dansby Swanson might be the best defender at short, but he plays in the NL. Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez is only in the Majors because of his defense, and Jeremy Pena is in the running for ROTY partially for his defensive acumen. I think Mateo will win, but it is certainly no guarantee.