Adam Jones is the best player on the roster. Wei-Yin Chen has been lighting up batters all season long. Jim Johnson is proving to be one if not the best closers in the entire league. But at this point in the season none of them get my vote for Orioles MVP.
That honor goes to the incomparable Mark Reynolds.
When Baltimore picked up the 5 year veteran and brought him in some eyebrows was raised. He was a decent power hitter, 37 homers last season, but had a tendency to strike out. Add that in with the fact that defense seemed like something he wanted no part of and Reynolds was just another risky acquisition by the previous Baltimore Orioles management.
But like he has done with so many other players, Buck Showalter brought out the full potential in the beleaguered first baseman.
His hitting numbers have gone down a bit from last year, but everything else has improved. Instead of being a liability in the field, he has become one of the most consistent players on Baltimore’s roster. His strikeouts haven’t really fallen off much but both his average and OBP have increased from last season.
Perhaps most importantly though is his ability to pull through in the clutch.
As the year wraps up every single game becomes more and more important. None more so than the Orioles games against the New York Yankees. And apparently Reynolds did get the memo.
In three games so far this season Mark Reynolds has hit multiple homers against the Bronx Bombers, only the second player ever to do so. This kind of production is exactly what Baltimore has needed in its recent surge to come within a game of the Yankees for first place.
Although he may not carry them through to the end, you have to give Reynolds credit for getting Baltimore to where it is today. He has mirrored the Orioles in their rise to contention, going from a middle of the road player to a star who is putting a playoff team on his back.
With the new pressures of a postseason push it remains to be seen if he can keep up this level of play. But if he does the Orioles will be a dangerous club in October.