Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 5: All hail our new hero Trey Mancini

Orioles Victory Number 5: 12-4 over the Oakland A's

2017 Topps Update Trey Mancini

The headlines from yesterday's game will all be about Chris Davis and his ongoing streak of futility. Lost in the schadenfreude of his 49 consecutive at bats without a hit was that Trey Mancini went 3-for-3 with 2 runs and 2 runs batted in. His first inning home run, the fifth of the season, ignited the scoring outburst that led to victory.

With the mass exodus of players and Davis' current hardships, Mancini has emerged as the face of the franchise. Despite entering just his third full season in the major leagues he is the veteran leader of the team. A stellar rookie season was followed by a less than successful sophomore year. Was it a product of his knee injury? Or, was it Mancini reverting back to a norm?

Honestly it's hard to say. This is a player that has barely cracked the 300 game mark in the majors. He is 27, which is to say he should be in the middle of his prime playing days. It also puts him in an interesting position. He's not young enough to be considered a prospect, but he isn't exactly a grizzled veteran.

So what do the Orioles do with him? Do they build around him or do they trade him off for more assets. He may be on the older side, but he is also an extremely affordable player who has power. He has 56 home runs in the 318 games hes played in. He also hits a lot of line drives. For a power hitter his average launch angle is 6.4. Usually a power hitter will be in double digits (Aaron Judge is at 11.8 this season). A team needing right-handed power could be interested him especially since he's under team control for another three seasons.

Of course, all of those reasons are why the Orioles should keep him as well. He's their best player and he's affordable (he's earning just $575,000) and isn't blocking anyone in the system. In fact, he's most likely best as a first baseman so he's kind of blocked by Davis. Besides the fans (all 6,585 that showed up on Monday) need someone to rally around during these trying times.

It seems he wants to embrace the role of leader. Speaking to NBC Sports in spring training he said,

"I’m definitely trying to do my best to be a leader on the team and be somebody that the community can look up to as well." 

He can do that by being an example to the younger players on the team, by remaining a professional no matter how trying the season may be. He can also do it by being the best hitter on the team. It's going to be a long season, but at least Trey Mancini gives the fans a reason to keep going to the games.

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