If you watched Orioles baseball this year you knew they'd be swimming in awards after the season, and of course that is what happened. The MLBPA has announced the winners of their 2021 MLB Awards and it comes as a surprise to no-one that the Orioles had several winners. To me the MLBPA awards are better than the AP awards because these are the results from the players. Their peers are the ones voting, that is what really matters, not a bunch of old curmudgeons in the press box. These are the awards that count. I talked about it before, but there was only one real choice for Comeback Player Of The Year, wonder who that could be?
Nothing but claps and hat tips for Trey Mancini. Diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer right when the pandemic started in 2020, he missed the entire season but kicked cancer's ass and worked his tail off to get back, finish chemo and be ready for the 2021 season. Not only did he come back, he was a damn good player. At one point in May he was leading the bigs in runs batted in, participated and finished second in the home run derby, and ended up hitting 21 homers, 71 RBI, and 33 doubles. He battled through some injuries late in the season but said there was no way he was going to hit the IL because cancer was the only thing that had ever put him on that list and he wasn't going to go back. This is a guy who means so much to his ball club and his city. He's a guy that I call a friend and is a huge inspiration to anyone around the world battling through cancer or anything else. There is no one more deserving for this award, I truly believe that.
Not only was he able to beat cancer once, he came back and even battled through a second cancer scare in the middle of the season that not many people know about. You could tell how much the players around the league like him by the way they treated him when he got on base. Whether it was Xander Bogaerts hugging him at first base on Opening Day or Vladdy Jr giving him a bear hug and writing his "Stand Up 2 Cancer" sign for Trey at the All Star game. He's loved in Baltimore and all around the league, who's better than this guy? Congrats to Trey and I have a feeling a few more Comeback Player Of The Year awards are headed his way.
This was a big conversation among baseball fans this year, was Ryan Mountcastle good enough to win Rookie Of The Year? Well good thing the nerds on twitter don't vote because the players voted him as so. After a rough beginning month of the season Mountcastle rebounded in a good way. He did dip a bit in July, maybe hitting a rookie wall. But he ended up finishing with 33 homers (most among rookies in the bigs), 89 driven in (2nd among rookies), 23 doubles, 77 runs, 136 hits, and hit .255. If he doesn't have a slow start to the month he's probably up around 40 bombs. Insane power numbers for a rookie. He broke the Orioles rookie HR record held by Cal Ripken Jr, and was easily one of their best players down the stretch. He found himself a nice home at first base and was a hell of a defender when it was all said and done. The rookie class is LOADED with guys like Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, Akil Baddoo, and Adolis Garcia. Hell of a class, so the fact that Ryan was voted Most Outstanding Rookie by his peers was huge. That is a damn honor if you ask me.
Awesome to see these 2 guys who were fantastic all year get recognized by their peers for what they did on and off the field. Two very good players who I hope are in Baltimore a long, long time. It wouldn't surprise me to see these two win the other Comeback Player Of The Year and Rookie Of The Year awards in a few weeks too, would be a nice way to end this season if you ask me. In fact, the Orioles may have quite a few Rookie Of The Years coming down the pipe. Wait and see. But in all seriousness congrats to Trey and Ryan for winning these awards. For sure means a lot to them.