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Orioles’ Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle named finalists for MLBPA’s Players Choice Awards

Three Orioles expected to contend for Major League Baseball’s yearly honors received what is possibly even greater recognition: that of their peers.

Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle are among the finalists for the Major League Baseball Players Association’s Players Choice Awards, with voting performed by their fellow players in mid-September.

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Mancini and Mullins join Seattle’s Mitch Haniger as the finalists for the American League’s Comeback Player Award. Mancini, 29, missed all of 2020 undergoing chemotherapy treatment for stage 3 colon cancer. Although his 2021 season didn’t live up to the standards he had set for himself with a breakout 2019 campaign, Mancini was still an above-average major league batter for Baltimore, playing in 147 of 162 games at first base and designated hitter with 21 home runs and a .758 OPS.

Mullins, 27, was the Orioles’ Opening Day center fielder and leadoff hitter in 2019, but he quickly was demoted to Triple-A after appearing overmatched at the plate. His troubles continued at Norfolk, and he found himself in Double-A Bowie by midseason, ending the season there. After a productive 2020 campaign back with Baltimore, Mullins abandoned switch-hitting in the offseason and found immediate success batting exclusively left-handed. He was the Orioles’ All-Star representative, starting for the AL in center field, and finished the year as the organization’s first player to record 30 home runs and 30 steals in the same season.

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Along with Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena and Texas’ Adolis García, Mountcastle is a finalist for the union’s Outstanding Rookie Award. The 24-year-old’s 33 home runs paced all rookies and set a franchise record for a first-year player, surpassing franchise icon Cal Ripken Jr.’s mark of 28. Since 1990, only two AL rookies have recorded more home runs. Mountcastle put together that power outburst after struggling immensely in April, recording a .515 OPS with only one homer in the opening month. From May 1 on, he played to a 44-home run, 112-RBI pace with a .324 on-base percentage and .528 slugging percentage.

The winners will be announced on Oct. 28 on ESPN’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter.”

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