Never in the true running to win this year’s American League Rookie of the Year Award due to the historic bashing in the Bronx, the Orioles’ Trey Mancini settled for a third-place finish tonight in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
It’s an honor just to be nominated. And to be a finalist, which was confirmed last week.
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge was a unanimous winner, of course, garnering all 30 first-place votes for 150 points. The Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi was second with 23 second-place votes and six third-place votes for 75 points.
Mancini, who rose from opening day roster candidate to regular left fielder, received five second-place votes and 16 third-place votes for 31 points.
The Athletics’ Matt Olson garnered one vote for second place and two for third. The Astros’ Yuli Gurriel received five third-place votes, and the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery claimed one vote for second and one for third.
After making his major league debut in 2016 by homering in three of his five September games, Mancini broke camp with the team this spring and batted .293/.338/.488 with 26 doubles, four triples, 24 home runs and 78 RBIs in 147 games. He registered a 2.2 WAR, compared to Judge’s 8.1 and Benintendi’s 2.6.
Among qualifying rookies, Mancini ranked first in hits with 159 to finish ahead of Gurriel (158), Benintendi (155) and Judge (154). He also was first with 47 multi-hit games, second in batting average behind Gurriel (.299), third in slugging percentage, fourth in on-base percentage, fifth in RBIs and tied for seventh in home runs.
Mancini’s 17-game hitting streak from Sept. 11-29 was the longest by a rookie in club history and the longest by a first-year player in the majors this season.
The adjustment from first base to the outfield went more smoothly than the Orioles could have anticipated. Mancini improved his routes after daily sessions in spring training with first base coach Wayne Kirby, who doubles as outfield instructor, and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson. The strength and accuracy of Mancini’s arm surprised some members of the organization, including manager Buck Showalter.
Reliever Gregg Olson is the last Oriole to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1989 after going 5-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 27 saves. Cal Ripken Jr. won it in 1982, Eddie Murray in 1977, Al Bumbry in 1973, Curt Blefary in 1965 and Ron Hansen in 1960.
Pitcher Daniel Cabrera was the last Oriole before Mancini to finish in the top three when he placed third in 2004.
Judge batted .284/.422/.627 with 24 doubles, three triples, 52 home runs, 114 RBIs and 208 strikeouts in 155 games and 542 at-bats. He posted a .329 average in the first half and a .228 average after the break, though his September output included a .311/.463/.889 slash line, 15 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Benintendi batted .271/.352/.424 with 26 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs, 90 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 151 games. He tailed off in September with a .238/.310/.362 slash line and two home runs in 26 games.
Benintendi batted .351/.460/.500 with runners in scoring position. Mancini had a .340/.383/.708 slash line and Judge batted .262/.390/.624.
Nine members of the BBWAA kept Mancini off their ballots: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Scott Merkin of MLB.com, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, Evan Woodbery of MLive Media Group, Alyson Footer of MLB.com, Mike Mazzeo of New York Daily News, Tim Booth of the Associated Press and Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.com.
The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger was expected to be the unanimous winner as National League Rookie of the Year.