As the baseball season winds down, here’s a look at how the Orioles fare in the American League’s season-ending awards:
AL Manager: The Orioles’ Buck Showalter and the A’s Bob Melvin are the top candidates, but the White Sox’s rookie manager, Robin Ventura, deserves more credit than he’s getting. Ventura has a chance to knock off the Tigers, the AL Central’s heavy favorite. Ventura has led the White Sox through rotation injuries and has won with a rookie closer. Ventura has turned around Adam Dunn and Alex Rios. Showalter will win the award if the Orioles win the AL East, but if the A’s and Orioles go into the postseason as wild cards, and the White Sox win the Central, there is this question: Should Ventura get more credit for winning a division, even though he might not have more victories than either the A’s or the Orioles? ... How much credit should go to the No. 2 wild card? Last year, that position would have been an afterthought.
AL Cy Young: The top three candidates are the Rays’ David Price, the Tigers’ Justin Verlander and the Angels’ Jered Weaver. Generally starters, because of their innings, get more consideration than closers, but the Orioles’ Jim Johnson, with his saves total, should get votes. Basically, the choice comes down to this: Price has wins and ERA. Verlander has innings and reputation. Weaver has the lowest OPS against among starters. Questions: Playing for a division champion makes a difference in the MVP voting, but should it play a part in the Cy Young? ... Wins aren’t the ultimate standard for judging a pitcher, but should Price’s win total be a strong consideration given the Rays’ struggle with scoring?
AL MVP: The debate is between the all-around play of the Angels’ Mike Trout, who didn’t come up until April 28, and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, who has a shot at the Triple Crown. Trout is better defensively, and he has the intangibles over Cabrera, who is playing on an underachieving team and is part of the reason the Tigers lead the AL in unearned runs allowed. Cabrera can hit in the middle of the order, and he could never do what Trout does at the top of the order. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones should be listed in the top five. Jones has shown leadership of a young team, power, defense and clutch hitting. His no-nonsense attitude has focused the clubhouse.
AL Rookie: It’s going to be the Angels’ Mike Trout. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has played well enough to be a candidate, but he came up too late. Machado has a better chance of playing in October than Trout, and that’s more important than being the top rookie.