With many obstacles standing in the Orioles way in 2020, maybe none reached the heart of O’s fans quite as much as the news of Trey Mancini being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. The 2019 Orioles MVP, losing Mancini was a dagger in the heart off and on the field. So, what happens when your best player goes down? Some else must step up. That is exactly what Anthony Santander has done.
Being taken by the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft in 2016, former skipper Buck Showalter was huge on the Cleveland Indians prospect. Making his debut in 2017, Santander started a long road to get to the point he is at in 2020.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Santander saw a lot of moving around, being brought up to the majors and being sent back down to the minors. All of this as we baseball fans know, is business and is about developing the young player. At first, we could see the signs of the power, and even saw some leather flashing early in his major league career. However, Santander didn’t really crack into his greatness until 2019.
A dismal 2019 season for he rebuilding Orioles meant a lot of player movement, and a lot of players getting time that normally wouldn’t on a contender team. The biggest player in my eyes in 2019 was Anthony Santander.
In 2019, Santander saw the field in 93 games, which so far has been his max, considering 2020 will only be 60 games. Santander showed promise in 2019, smashing 20 home runs and 20 doubles, a foresight to what is to come from the bat of number 25. Santander finished the season with a .261 batting average and an impressive .773 OPS. believe it or not, it gets better.
Going into the 2020 season, many players looked to prove themselves in the orioles lineup. While many have, none have made the mark Santander has made, on the Orioles and in the league as a whole.
Highlighting a revamped Orioles offense in 2020, Santander has developed into one of the games best young hitters. Showing power from both sides of the plate, Santander sits at 9 home runs in less than 30 games. He also is near the top of the AL in doubles (10), and leads the AL in RBI at 25. With an OPS of 1.026, Santander is an offensive playmaker who constant puts himself in a position to help his team.
As of August 21, Santander is riding a 15 game hit streak, his longest in his career and longest current in the MLB. In over half of those games, Santander has been good for an extra base hit, and has notched 18 of those 25 RBIs in that 15 game stretch.
Defensively, Santander has cemented himself as an everyday right fielder in a struggling Orioles defense. Flashing the leather constantly, Santander shows himself as a true complete player, someone you want to build your team around for years to come.
As we know, no All-Star Game will be played in 2020, yet it’s impossible not to say Santander wouldn’t be the starting right fielder. Even more so, there is little debate as to the fact Santander isn’t top of the AL in MVP talk.
Taking a rebuilding offense and turning them into a legit postseason hopeful, Anthony Santander is the MVP in Baltimore and across the AL all together about halfway through this unprecedented season.