Mancini leads the Orioles in doubles (36), home runs (34), RBIs (93), on-base percentage (.356), slugging (.536), OPS (.892) and total bases (305). He’s set career-highs in hits (163), doubles, home runs, runs scored (100), RBIs and walks (56) this season, and became the 10th different player (15th time) in Orioles history to record a season with at least 30 doubles, 30 home runs and 100 runs scored.
“I’m very honored,” Mancini said this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “We’ve got so many guys on this team that were deserving. It’s a great honor. And something I definitely don’t take for granted and am very appreciative of. Very thankful to receive this award. Schoopy (Jonathan Schoop) won it in ‘17 when I was a rookie and Adam (Jones) won it last year. So yeah, it’s an honor to be in the same conversations as those guys.”
It was a remarkably consistent year for Mancini, who has an OPS of .916 versus lefties and .880 against right-handers. That number is .898 at home and .885 on the road and .868 in the first half and is .924 in the second half.
“I’m very proud of that (consistency),” said Mancini. “I think, especially after last year, the first half in particular was just really tough. I always knew that I was still the player I knew I was. I think there was some doubt from maybe a lot of people and rightfully so as to whether I was more the 2017 or 2018 version of myself. I always knew it was more the former. Wanted to go out every night and play my hardest and play for the team every night. I knew if I did that then on a personal level, I would be happy with myself at the end of the year.”
Mancini said he didn’t set any stat goals coming into the year. But it’s been a season where he is one of only three players in the American League with at least 34 home runs and 34 doubles. Mancini, the Astros’ Alex Bregman and the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon are the only players in MLB to total at least 35 doubles, 34 home runs and 100 runs.
“No, not really,” he said about the statistical goals. “I never really set too many numerical goals. I feel like you can press a lot of the time and play for the wrong reasons in a way, if you do that. So I didn’t really have any numbers or milestones, you know, set in my head. I definitely just wanted to do well and perform well for the team and I feel like I’ve done that.”
Mancini said winning the MVO at a time when the team has had such a poor year doesn’t make the award any more or less special.
“I don’t know if it makes it more special. But if you look at it, especially individually we’ve had so many guys have career years here and so many guys deserving of this award. John Means made the All-Star Game. We’ve got Bert (Hanser Alberto) competing for a batting title right now. (Jonathan) Villar, I’ve said this before, might be the most underrated player in MLB. Any of them could have won this award so, it is certainly special to be in that group with them.”
Mancini told reporters at midseason he was down a bit after he didn’t make the All-Star team in July. But this is a great honor to end the year with.
“I don’t know if it particularly means more because of that. I’m still just as honored as if I was in the All-Star Game. That was a tough couple of days for me. But I’m proud of myself for still plugging along and not letting it determine how my second half was going to go. And I feel like I’ve shown that maybe (I) deserved to be in the game.”
The Most Valuable Oriole Award is named in honor of the late Lou Hatter, a former sportswriter for The Baltimore Sun who covered the Orioles for 27 years. Mancini will be recognized for his accomplishments in an on-field ceremony prior to Sunday’s home finale. Voting is done on a 5-3-1 point basis. Also receiving votes were Villar, Alberto, Means, Renato Núñez and Anthony Santander.