Orioles players are racking up more award nominations.
Two Orioles have been nominated for a Silver Slugger award, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Adley Rutschman is in the running at catcher, and Anthony Santander is eligible in the outfield in the American League. The announcement comes as welcome news for Birdland on the same day that Brandon Hyde won Manager of the Year, and soon after Cedric Mullins and Ramon Urias earned Gold Glove nominations. MLB managers and coaches vote for the Silver Slugger awards.
Rutschman has a pretty good chance of winning based on his impressive offensive line, but a smaller volume could prevent him from taking home the hardware. Since he only debuted on May 21, Rutschman played in 113 games, only a little above the minimum requirement of 100 games played. For the season, Adley had an .806 OPS with 49 extra-base hits, setting the Orioles rookie record and catching record for doubles. His OPS is first among catching qualifiers.
It is baffling that Martin Maldonado was nominated, but Alejandro Kirk, Sean Murphy, Cal Raleigh, and Salvador Perez make for tough competition. These four legitimate nominees are all close to Rutschman with OPS’s in the high-.700’s. Adley might be the front-runner, but Kirk had a breakout season and started the All-Star Game, and Raleigh led all catchers in home runs with 27.
Santander should be honored just to get a nomination in a loaded outfield group. Tony Taters set career highs in games, runs, home runs, RBI’s, walks, and WAR. His MVO-winning 2020 season was in the shortened campaign, so while this might not have been his best season overall, it was definitely his best full season. Among outfield qualifiers, Santander is second in home runs and tied for fourth in RBI’s, but his slash line places him further down the list.
Aaron Judge leads the competition, along with Julio Rodriguez, Mike Trout, Kyle Tucker, Randy Arozarena, Taylor Ward, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, and Adolis Garcia. Judge of course set the AL record for home runs, Mike Trout continues to do Mike Trout things, and J-Rod will likely beat out Rutschman for Rookie of the Year. Unless the voters strictly look at home runs, Santander really doesn’t have a chance at winning.
Regardless of the outcomes, Rutschman and Santander had great seasons for the Orioles worth celebrating. The Silver Slugger nominations are hopefully signs of better things to come next season for both the team and the players.