The nominees for the MLB Comeback Player Of The Year were announced on Thursday and to the surprise of no one its 3 really good players who bounced back from 3 very different things. All of them had fantastic years and they all deserve to be recognized. With all that being said there is one clear winner here, it‘s Trey Mancini of the Orioles. I’ve written about Trey’s battle with cancer and the things he’s gone through this season multiple times and it’s an amazing story.
I’m not taking anything away from Mitch Haniger of the Mariners who had a gruesome injury when he ruptured a testicle from a foul ball in 2019, then missed all of 2020 when he had to have 3 separate surgeries including one to fix a torn adductor muscle and a herniated disc. I’m not taking anything away from Cedric Mullins of the Orioles either. We all know the story of Mullins who was TERRIBLE in 2019 after being anointed as the starter in 2018. Mullins was so bad he was sent down two levels after hitting .094. He had a decent year as a platoon guy in 2020 but exploded in 2021 with a 30/30 season and his first All Star appearance. Both stories are great, they really are. But none of them can hold a candle to Trey and what he’s been through.
The fact that he rehabbed through stage 3 colon cancer with chemotherapy through a pandemic and came back in time for spring training and was the heart and soul of this club says a lot. His numbers dipped of course, and I think that was to be expected. But he still played in 147 games, hit 21 homers, drove in 71, hit .255 and came in second in the home run derby. He had his up months and he had his down months. Recently it came out he had another cancer scare in June which turned out to be a false alarm. Regardless it’s a scary situation that isn’t done yet, just because he beat cancer doesn’t mean it won’t comeback, that’s the scary part.
All 3 guys have great stories but Trey embodies everything this award is about. When he’s not on the diamond he’s working with his foundation to help raise awareness for colon cancer. He said a few times this year there were times he never thought he’d play baseball again, but he did and he was damn good at it. No disrespect to Mitch or Cedric, but this award was always going to be Treys. It was his award the second he stepped in the batters box in Fenway Park on Opening Day.