Can Henderson or Rutschman Snap Orioles’ AL MVP Drought?

Can  Henderson or Rutschman Snap Orioles’ AL MVP Drought?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Baltimore Orioles are among the most exciting teams in the American League, with a farm system that’s collectively referenced as the best in the sport and an MLB roster that is fresh off its first 100-win season in 43 years.

With spring training kicking off this week, there is much anticipation for Orioles fans and in Maryland online sports betting.

Anchoring the O’s roster are two youthful stars in the making. Former No. 1 overall pick and franchise cornerstone catcher Adley Rutschman already has accumulated 9.6 WAR across 267 MLB games. And infielder Gunnar Henderson is fresh off a 6.2 WAR campaign in which he took home the AL Rookie of the Year award and a Silver Slugger last season.

So, – your source for MD sports betting apps – decided to look at whether one of the Orioles stars can be the first Most Valuable Player in Baltimore since franchise legend Cal Ripken Jr. In fact, it is kind of a short list for Orioles MVPs in the last 60 years.

  • 1991: Cal Ripken Jr.
  • 1983: Cal Ripken Jr.
  • 1970: Boog Powell
  • 1966: Frank Robinson
  • 1964: Brooks Robinson
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Orioles Expected to Compete Again

The No. 1 and 42 picks in the 2019 MLB Draft anchor what’s expected to be a playoff caliber roster in the Charm City, with oddsmakers from ESPN BET Maryland giving the O’s a preseason win total over/under of 91.5. Baltimore also has +1200 World Series odds, which ranks in a tie with the defending champion Texas Rangers for fifth leaguewide.

Better yet for O’s fans is the fact that FanDuel Maryland Rutschman and Henderson side-by-side on the national sportsbook’s AL MVP odds board, at +2000. The pair of Baltimore haymakers rank seventh leaguewide, behind the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (+550) and Juan Soto (+600), the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager (+850), the Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez (+950), the Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez (+1200) and the Astros’ Kyle Tucker (+1500).

Both Baltimore position players are tied on ESPN BET’s AL MVP board with Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals, in addition to Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Been a Long While Since Ripken

To put the accomplishment in perspective, the last Orioles player to take home the AL MVP trophy was Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991. He won his second and final honor that year after previously taking home the trophy in 1983.

Three other Orioles - Boog Powell (1970), Frank Robinson (1966) and Brooks Robinson (1964) -  have won the AL MVP award, showing how rare it is to see a Baltimore player rank so highly entering a given season.

The four O’s players to win the AL MVP award prove that the accolade is even tougher to earn for Baltimore mainstays than the AL Cy Young, which has been captured six times by four different players, and the AL Rookie of the Year accolade, which has happened seven times between 1960 and 2023, with Henderson joining Gregg Olson (1989), Ripken (1982), Eddie Murray (1977), Al Bumbry (1973), Curt Blefary (1965) and Ron Hansen (1960) in winning the award over the years.

Since 2014, the average WAR total from the year-end MVP winner in the AL has been 8.41. That  would require a sizeable step up from the production that Henderson (6.2 WAR) and Rutschman (4.3 WAR) provided last year.

This year, the Orioles will look to capture their second consecutive AL East title for the first time since 1973 and 1974. Henderson and Rutschman will need to provide much of the muscle needed for Baltimore to emerge past heavyweights like the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays to win their division.

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Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan writes for and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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