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Three Up, Three Down: Gunnar Henderson is Incredible, No Cap

Gunnar Henderson no cap
photo: Baltimore Orioles (
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Another successful week of Orioles baseball in the rearview! The Birds headed to Kansas City and Anaheim and brought back a 4-2 record, winning both series two games to one. This despite the Royals being their typically pesky selves, a few bullpen blow-ups, another near blow-up, and a key starting pitcher having his worst outing in nearly a calendar year.

Let’s see who was up and who was down on the road trip.

Three Up

Gunnar Henderson

My goodness, Gunnar Henderson. A 248 wRC+, thanks to .375/.448/.792 line, with two homers, two doubles, five RBI, seven runs scored, and a stolen base in 29 plate appearances. He made a few dazzling defensive plays, and slapped the game-ending tag on Joe Adell with such skillful authority that no replay angle could conclusively say that Adell was, in fact, safe.

A season after winning the American League Rookie of the Year award, Gunnar is announcing himself as a legitimate MVP candidate. Henderson currently leads the AL in fWAR (1.9), and trails only Mookie Betts in MLB (2.3).

Gunnar Henderson’s Huge Day

His season line: .309/.373/.649, 3 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 5/5 SB. He is also mashing left-handed pitching, with 12 hits in 37 AB, including a double, two triples, and two dingers.

Please, Mike Elias and David Rubenstein: give this man all the money.

Adley Rutschman

Doesn’t everything just feel right with the world when we lead off Three Up, Three Down with Gunnar and Adley Rutschman? Adley had himself a week as well, with a 209 wRC+, thanks to a .448 batting average. He drove in eight and scored three on the trip, including hitting his first career grand slam in Friday night’s loss in KC. He was clutch again and again, including looping a single through a drawn-in Angels infield to score two on Wednesday.

We still await Adley’s power stroke to really show up, but he’s at .327/.368/.418 line through 98 AB.

Please, Mike Elias and David Rubenstein: give this man a lot of the money as well.

Albert Suarez

Albert Suarez backed up his first start in MLB since 2017, last Wednesday against Minnesota, with another gem in Anaheim. He again got through 5.2 IP, and again didn’t allow a single run. He also struck out five, and his only walks were Mike Trout twice (understandable!).

Al has more than earned himself yet another turn in the rotation. It looks like it won’t be on Sunday against Oakland though. That game could be the return of John Means to Baltimore, which would mean the Birds are giving Suarez a shot against the New York Yankees on Monday. We shall see!

Honorable Mentions

Anthony Santander (197 wRC+), Ryan Mountcastle (159 wRC+), Colton Cowser (158 wRC+), Jordan Westburg (147 wRC+), Cole Irvin (6.2 scoreless), Dean Kremer (10.64 K/9)

Three Down

Cedric Mullins

After a huge offensive week that earned him an UP last week, Cedric Mullins crashed back to earth on the road trip. He hit .150/.227/.150 in 22 PA, good for a dismal 17 wRC+. The Birds faced a lot of lefites this week, and Mullins may want to look into going back to being a switch hitter again (half joking).

He’s hitting .286 against righties in 2024, but is just 2-for-22 against southpaws.

I don’t want Jorge Mateo playing centerfield. Ever. So I am willing to accept Ced’s poor performance against lefties, but it would be nice if he could at least creep toward the Mendoza line there.

Mike Baumann

This friggin’ guy. He can pump the four-seamer at near 100 MPH, but it’s straight as an arrow, and he can’t get anything else over the plate. On Friday, with the Birds trailing 9-4, Mike was, of course, lights out, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. Monday, he relieved Suarez to finish the sixth inning, and struck out Mickey Moniak. Starting the seventh though, he went: home run, single, walk. Asked to pitch a quick inning with a 4-0 lead, he poured gasoline all over the mound, and Brandon Hyde was forced to go to Yennier Cano with two men on.

Baumann is now sporting a 5.59 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP. In a bullpen that’s set to become increasingly crowded in the coming weeks, the option-less Mike may find his seat increasingly warm once Yohan Ramirez is set adrift.

Grayson Rodriguez

Oof. Grayson Rodriguez had a night reminiscent of his early 2023 struggles before he was sent back down to Norfolk. On Monday against the Angels, things started rough with Trout blasting a leadoff home run, and didn’t get any better. Final line: 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 7 K, 1 BB.

Every pitch seemed to get way too much of the strike zone, and the Halos didn’t miss.

Ah well, chalk it up to being on an extra day of rest (he hadn’t pitched since the previous Tuesday).

Grayson will have a chance to bounce back in a huge way against the Evil Empire next week.

Dishonorable Mentions

Ryan O’Hearn (44 wRC+), Jackson Holliday (1-for-9), Yennier Cano (6.00 ERA), Yohan Ramirez (worst inning by an Orioles pitcher in memory?), Keegan Akin (16.20 ERA)

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