For the Orioles Gunnar Henderson, seemingly on his way to the American League Rookie of the Year Award, a season that ended well did not start that way.
In mid-May, when he was batting .170 with a .651 OPS, some around Birdland wondered if a trip back to the minors was needed. But team management never flinched, they remained confident in the then 21-year-old talent, and that confidence was rewarded.
Henderson ended the year batting .255/.325/.489/.814 with 29 doubles, nine triples, 28 homers, 100 runs and 82 RBIs. He set an O’s rookie record with 66 extra-base hits and his OPS+ was 125. After that slow start into mid-May, his OPS was .849 his last 117 games.
On his way to winning the Most Valuable Oriole award, he led MLB rookies with 6.3 Wins Above Replacement per baseball-reference.com and also led them in home runs and extra-base hits.
Among all AL position players, just Marcus Semien (7.4) and Corey Seager (6.9) of Texas produced more bWAR although he ranked 12th in the league in fWAR.