Oriole fans still have a lot to be thankful for

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After yet another difficult season for the Orioles, there are still many reasons to be grateful.

A year ago, Trey Mancini was just trying to get in shape after missing the entire 2020 season due to colon cancer surgery and five months of chemotherapy. Twelve months later, Mancini played 147 games, more than anyone other than midfielder Cedric Mullins, and although his stats were not the best in his career, he served as inspiration for fans who have had friends and family affected by cancer.

Mancini’s worth cannot be measured by his statistics. He wants to win as much as anyone else, and after going through three seasons with more than 100 losses in the last four, he can put losses in perspective.

His courage was recognized with three American League Comeback Player of the Year awards and by an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby. His second place justified the invitation.

In the low season, Mancini has had time to relax, go on a European vacation with his fiancée Sara Perlman and start preparing for 2022.

In such a bad season, Mancini was a true positive and we hope he will still be with Orioles next year.

The Orioles were grateful to Mullins, who became the first player in franchise history with 30 homeruns and 30 stolen bases. This month, Mullins won a Silver Slugger award after a season in which he became a full-time left-handed hitter after deciding to stop being a switch-hitter.

First baseman / designated hitter Ryan Mountcastle beat 33 homeruns, a team record for rookies and overcame a terrible first month to give the Orioles another player to be grateful for.

Outfielder Austin Hays, who underwent a core operation out of season, played in a career-high 131 games and played in all but one match after June 15th. The Orioles are grateful to have him play alongside Mullins, his longtime friend.

Starting pitcher John Means gave fans a thrill by pitching the Orioles’ first solo-no-hitter since Jim Palmer threw one in 1969. He came within a wild pitch that could have been judged as a passing ball, from a perfect play . Means who missed time due to fatigue in the left shoulder never blamed the offense for lack of running support or the bullpen for its inability to hold wires.

A difficult season gave a number of new players the opportunity to play in major league matches.

The one who got the most out of it was rookie pitcher Tyler Wells, who a year ago was an unknown minor league pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization. Wells, which was a draft of Rule 5, has a chance to be closer to the Orioles next season.

Ramón Urías, who a year ago seemed to be left out of the 40-man list, got his first real chance to play in the big leagues and hit and fielded well enough to continue his big league career as an infielder.

Jorge López did not pitch well as a starter, but his relief appearances in the late season make him an exciting opportunity for 2022.

The Orioles used a record of 62 players, many of whom were grateful to get their first big-league action.

Mickey Jannis became one of the oldest rookies in the team’s history at 33 years old. His crackball, which kept him in professional ball, finally gave him a chance to turn up in the majors after 11 seasons in minor and independent ball. Although Jannis’ only major league appearance may be forgettable to anyone who watched, it was worth it to him.

Manny Barreda waited even longer than Jannis. He was drafted in 2007 and got his first major league chance on September 8thth, and picked up a victory of 32.

Dusten Knight was another over-30 rookie. He was known for making backflips on the mound after a rescue. There were no saving chances in his seven matches, but he finally reached the Promised Land.

So did Conner Greene, who as a 26-year-old was not as old as the others, but got 22 games for the Orioles on two stints and in between two games for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oriole fans can be grateful for promising players in the farm system who have been ranked as the best in baseball by the MLB Pipeline. Catcher Adley Rutschman and pitcher Grayson Rodriguez could debut in 2022. So could left-handed pitcher DL Hall, infielder Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg and outfielder Kyle Stowers.

After a bout of myocarditis, an enlargement of the heart, the Orioles are grateful that their best draft pick of 2020, outfielder Heston Kjerstad, looks like he will be ready to play in 2022.

Most importantly, we at BaltimoreBaseball.com – our publisher, Steve Cockey, our editor, Jack Gibbons and I – are grateful to our readers who have made this a record year for our site.

Maybe in 2022 we have more to be thankful for.

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