If you want an example of leadership by example, watch the Orioles’ Trey Mancini. He may not be a vocal leader and may not be a teammate that would air another out for any reason, but he sure plays hard. All the time. Every inning. Every game.
It’s great leadership for young players. As the losing continues and the club is making costly mistakes almost every night, Mancini has been a constant in a positive way.
He hit .355 with a 1.023 OPS in March and April to show the way early on, and after last night he is batting .323 with a .981 OPS in September to show the way now, 150 games later.
Mancini’s overall numbers in 2018 were down from the year before, mostly due to a poor first half. This year the numbers are the best of his career in most stat categories. They compare well to his totals in 2017, a season that ended with Mancini following Aaron Judge and Andrew Benintendi for third place in the Rookie of the Year vote.
Mancini, 2017 - .293/.338/.488 with 26 doubles, 24 HRs, 78 RBIs, 65 runs, .826 OPS
Mancini, 2019 - .280/.351/.529 with 33 doubles, 34 HRs, 88 RBIs, 99 runs, .879 OPS
There should be an MVO award in his near future - Most Valuable Oriole for 2019.
Mancini’s ability to wear out pitchers in right-center field showed yet again last night, with a two-run homer in the first inning. He won an eight-pitch battle to hit No. 34, which was his fourth homer in the last five games. In those five games he is 9-for-23 (.391) with four homers and 11 RBIs.
“He’s playing his best baseball of the year right now,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Mancini. “I love the way he’s getting the ball in the air. He’s just driving the ball. This guy brings it every single night. Love the effort. Love the intensity. He’s a super pro and he’s taking really good at-bats.”
Yep, leadership. And being a real pro for his teammates to learn from.
Mancini’s four RBIs Tuesday night ties his season high. He produced his 41st multi-hit game and 22nd multi-RBI game, which ties Renato Núñez for the team lead. He’s hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, batting .342 (25-for-73).
And while Mancini had a strong night, the Orioles messed a few things up last night. A foul pop that fell along the third-base line. Another baserunning miscue and some balls that fell in for hits in the outfield that they could not turn into outs. It was messy, and at times it was sloppy.
“Tonight was probably one of our worst games of the year in that regard, if not the worst,” Mancini said. “Overall, I’m proud of how we played and have gone about our business all year. We’ve obviously lost a lot of games that we could have won and we’ve made some mistakes, but tonight just felt a little different for some reason. Probably one of our worst games of the year, unfortunately.”
Maybe the Orioles will play a cleaner game tonight. But no doubt Mancini will play hard and give great effort, no matter the inning or score.
It’s outstanding leadership and the Orioles have seen it from him all year long.