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September 21, 2011

Who is your Most Valuable Oriole?

The Orioles are collecting ballots from media members for their annual Most Valuable Oriole Award.

I’ll wait as you snicker.

OK, as I was saying, it’s time to pick Most Valuable Oriole. And this isn’t a slam-dunk like it has been in the past.

Around August, I thought it would be. Adam Jones was head-and-shoulders above his teammates, and, if things went right, he could get 100 RBIs and 25-plus homers. But it hasn’t gone right. He slumped and, subsequently, has been sidelined for more than a week with a sprained right thumb (which may have contributed to the slump).

After starting Tuesday, he is hitting .283 with a .324 on base percentage, a .466 slugging percentage, 23 homers and 80 RBIs in 144 games.

Meanwhile, shortstop J.J. Hardy keeps making a case. Despite being out for a month because of injury, Hardy is hitting .262 with a .302 on-base percentage, a team-high .483 slugging percentage, 28 homers and 74 RBIs in 122 games.

Hardy and Jones have been very good defensively at crucial positions.

I could go either way. I am curious how you see it.

The Orioles ask that media members choose three candidates and order them. If Hardy and Jones are 1 and 2 – or 2 and 1 – the third spot becomes even more difficult. Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds (at least power-numbers-wise) could receive consideration.

I’d probably lean toward reliever Jim Johnson for the third spot; he has been the club’s best and most consistent pitcher throughout the season.

Daily Think Special: Who is your Most Valuable Oriole?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 7:00 AM | | Comments (77)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


I realize this as a losing battle and some have suggested satire on my part for supporting him, but I have to strongly recommend making Robert Andino as the Most Valuable Oriole. Here's why.
He's improved all aspects of his game.
I love his glove. He's got a good to very good arm, maybe even excellent at times. He saved the O's a lot of money by being able to play multiple positions. I grant you, he doesn't have as much “Star Power" as say someone like Matt Wieters or Adam Jones. The thing is what is the MVO all about? Is it a beauty contest? A popularity contest? Or is it more about the unsung hero a behind the scenes player, because to me that is what Robert Andino is. He has done everything that has been asked of him and grant it, he's not perfect. As a side note his imperfections are correctable. The bottom line is that I heartily support Robert Andino as MVO and so should you! To be "Frank" about it, he's my favorite Oriole and hope he retires as one with the caveat he continues to work on his game and improve.

PS JJ Hardy and Adam Jones had been slumping as of late, while Andino has kept chugging along.

You aren't even going to mention Matt Wieters?

1) Matt Weiters - excellent defense, decent hitting
2) JJ Hardy - good production numbers, solid fielder
3) Jim Johnson - only person in the bullpen that could keep us in a game


You nailed it. AJ and JJ for the 1st 2 and a toss up between Wiets because of his defensive acclaim or the other JJ because as you mentioned, he's the only pitcher on the staff that looks like he knows what he's doing and has been doing it well all season. I lean toward Jim Johnson for the 3rd spot because being a good defensive catcher isn't enough to earn an MVP. You've got to have above average numbers across the board for your team to earn the MVP. That being said I go with Hardy. He is top 3 in every offensive category (except average) and that is with missing a full month. Not only that, but his defensive skills are above average giving Baltimore a legit short stop again. But perhaps most importantly an unquantifiable stat is the fact that a power hitting, above average fielding short stop wanted to stay in Baltimore. From a fan perspective that is huge. Does he really hate moving that often (I was in the military and moved 11 times) or does he really want to be here? Either way that puts him a little higher on the MVP race in my book.

Dan, any word on Luke Scott? I haven't seen his name since July. Did he opt for surgery or rehab? Any thoughts about his status next year?


Luke had his surgery, Said he felt great a couple weeks ago, but he can't do any baseball activities for a while. He expects to be ready by spring training. He is arbitration eligible, and I could see the Orioles cutting him loose. But that decision doesn't need to be made yet,

I would give a vote to any of the tens of fans that continue to show up to watch this pitiful bunch after 14 years of losing. I have a 13 game plan and I haven't even been to the last few games because there is no appeal to watching this team at this point in the year anymore.

Connely you need to get some new glasses if you think Jones has been very good defensively this year. He's currently got his worst fielding percentage as an Oriole and his UZR is -10.6 and then there's the old trusty what are eyes tell us, and my eyes are telling me his defense is down. To compare his D to Hardy is absurd.

JJ Hardy or Jim Johnson,

Matt Weiters is having a ok season if his offense wasn't absolutely terrible when the season counted. He seems to only hit towards the end of the year when we aren't anywhere near .500. He has done this since his rookie year.

I can't imagine why a professional ballplayer would want to be proclaimed MVP of a last place team with 90+ losses - nor why a fan should care.

I will say that watching JJ Hardy, Robert Andino and Jim Johnson showing up like pros every day has been nice to see.

Andino followed closely by Weiters and Hardy!
Robert is the reason and the only reason why we won't lose 100 games this year. He's saved us many times. He has moved around the field doing a great job everywhere he plays and his on OBP is at or near the top of the team and his average around .270

This is like bestowing the Tallest Midget Award. This year, let's leave the honorarium vacant.


To me it has to be Matt Weiters. He is a proven leader now & is a gold glove candidate for catcher! Sure, it would be nice to see him hit 300 with 25-30 home runs & 100 rbi's but to me he is still the most valuable Oriole for "this" year.

I can't understand why you don't even consider Weiters. His hitting is slightly below Hardy and Jones - (highest OBP .328, Slug .450, 20 HR). but he plays the most important position and plays it very well.

Wieters leads the team in WAR at 4.0, third in MLB among catchers. Second on the team is JJ Hardy at 3.6.

Hardy, hands down. Not even close

Zach Britton - .625 AVG 1.750 OPS, no contest.

I'd go with Wieters, Hardy and Johnson. Wieters strong defense at the most difficult position on the field has been the biggest delight this year. Oh, and his hitting has been improving. Hardy has played the second most difficult position very well, and has shown quite a bit of power. Johnson is getting better and better. Jones has improved offensively (a bit) but his defense is mediocre. And his pitch discernment is still a bit weak. I think he'd like to be the team leader, but he's not yet.

My vote has been going to J J Hardy for being consistently stellar. But I have to also give consideration to Matt Wieters, His position as catcher and play-caller makes him a bit more involved in the day-to-day game, and when he is not in the line-up, the Orioles don't seem to have that edge.

This will not be a popular answer, but you have to give some consideration to Jeremy Guthrie. His W-L record is obviously terrible and his ERA isn't great either; it's been sort of a down year for him. But he's the only guy on that staff who's eaten 200+ innings, or even come close. Maligned he may be, but without him we'd have had a lot more innings thrown by minor-leaguers. It'd be a lot worse without him, believe it or not.

Not saying he's the O's MVP, but his contribution is not appreciated as much as it should be.

BTW I think Wieters is team MVP. Numbers not far behind Jones and Hardy, has played more games than Hardy, and has as much to do with our pitching's "success" as anyone.

Matt Wieters.


Bobby Andino. His attitude toward the game has improved immensely this year and he is fun to watch. He's finally turned into a professional baseball player.

I would say Wieters or Hardy because of the difficult position they play. Jones has been a team leader and has performed admirably at the plate, and has probably improved more than anyone, but unlike what you say, Dan, I think his defense is a problem. Jim Johnson certainly deserves consideration.

One person it's not: Robert Andino. Get real people. He's become a solid MLB player but nothing more.

I agree with JH. Guthrie is my most valuable Oriole. He took the ball every turn and usually gave us a chance to win. His attitude and work ethic are superior, even if the results are not. My #2 pick would be Reynolds, who despite early criticism has carried the best power and RBI bat on the team. We need to lock both men up to longterm contracts. #3 would be Jones, who has matured into a solid ball player this year.

Dr. Lewis Yocum.

It's Matt Wieters and it's not that close. His WAR is the highest and he's by far the best defensive catcher in the majors.

Close between Wieters, Jones, Hardy, and Reynolds, but I say Jones, barely. I'm about run production and batting average when choosing an MVP. Reynolds has led the way in producing runs, and he's brought a new dimension to the O's game, but the MVP can't hit .221. Wieters and Hardy are arguably the only 2 players on the club who have outperformed their AL East counterparts. But Adam Jones leads the 4 in BA, and has produced more runs this year than any other player save for Reynolds.

Aubrey Huff

The Most Valuable Oriole isn't an Oriole at all.

its the FANS for having to put up with an inferior product.

Management cannot go on the field and play for these guys. But really!!!!

Think about it Oriole fans.

My choices:
1. JJ Hardy. He has had a very good season at the plate and in the field. He also wants to be here since he signed a contract extension.
2. Matt Wieters. He has had a good year with the bat and is coming on strong now. His defense might be the best in baseball.
3. Robert Andino. Just ask the Red Sox and their closer!

Nick Markakis. He's so low-profile even most of the fans seem to have forgotten how consistently well he plays!

Hands down, I have to say J.J. Hardy. Others on the team have contributed, but J.J. has been the most consistent.

Everyone keeps mentioning Matt Weiters. Where was his bat when it mattered. It's the same thing every year with him. He pads his stats in the last 2 months of the season when the Orioles are way out of it. There is no pressure at that point because no one cares and they aren't in it. His bat is horrible for the first 4 months of the season and then he turns it on too late. That's why I give it to JJ Hardy or Adam Jones. They were hitting well with when we still had a shot, especially JJ Hardy. If there was such a thing as cheap stats, it would go to Weiters suddenly hitting well when it doesn't matter.

My MVP is Buck Showalter. Anyone who wants to manage a team owned by Peter Angelos, has to be a MVP.

Stop drinking the Weiters Kool-Aid. The guy only produces when it doesn't count. He might be a great catcher but can't seem to hit the ball when we are near .500. His bat only gets hot at the end of the year when we are under 30 games. Am I the only one that remembers the past few years in the beginning of the season.

Buck Showalter - somehow he created an acceptable pitching staff from nothing after Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta (among others) regressed. The offense is better than last year despite the Brian Roberts injury and the Lee and Guerrero flops.

Andy McPhail - honorable mention.

Seriously, you people need to give credit to the front office for holding things together. This could have been a 105+ loss season after the injuries and Mark Conner took his ball and went home.

Not hands down, but Adam Jones.

Adam Jones
JJ Hardy

Let's not kid. There are no valuable player on a team that loses nearly 100 games every year. If you got rid of any of these players are we really any worse? The most valuable player is the one who isn't here yet...Prince Fielder!

Jeff - I'm not ready to buy this 'where was his bat when it mattered?' line of reasoning. some hitters get better towards the end of the year. what evidence do you have (just a sec...picking up the crack pipe) that if we were in a pennant race, Weiters wouldn't be hot down the stretch like he is every year?

Buck Showalter's Psychiatrist!
Anyone that could keep a good man like Buck coming back day after day to manage this group of misfits, hasbeens & neverwills gets my vote.
My second vote would go to Brian "Longball" Matusz.

Most Valuable Oriole?

Yankees & Red Sox fans, without whom, the Orioles would be dead last in MLB attendance and possibly in danger of folding.

Least Valuable Oriole?

Peter Angelos, who relies on and markets to the above instead of investing in his team.

I'd have to go with Hardy. Similar numbers to Jones, but a much harder position to play.

Got to be Hardy. To have those kind of offensive numbers from an Orioles shortstop is unreal.

Agree with Connolly's argument that in the first half it could have been Jones.

Wieters was consistent and picked it up and the end. Very nice to see.

Reynolds decent...but as we all knew, the strikeouts came with him. He stepped it up big time with his D at first in the 2nd half.

And hey a few people mentioned him but how bout the way Andino has played in the 2nd half. Hustle, heart, and look now he is putting the bat on the ball in timely situations. What he did last night was deserving. He has battled for a good chunk of the year and steadily improved.

But to answer the main original question. Hardy gets the vote.

None of the above!

Jones, with Hardy a strong second.

1. Wieters
2. Hardy
3. Andino

Jones has been really solid offensively but his defense is too suspect to get included in the top 3.

1. Weiters - Defensive stud who works well with the young pitchers (you saw the impact he made earlier until the lack of talent caused the staff to implode) and his offense is similar to Hardy/Jones, who are not nearly as good defensively. Also, compared to other C's he is a stud; that cannot be said for Jones.
2. JJ Hardy - Like Weiters, he has been one of the tops at his position. He has been our best offensive weapon, and while not as good as Weiters defensively, he has been very, very good.
3. Jim Johnson - He is the only P who was worth the weight this year, except Guthrie who continues to be solid (nothing more, nothing less).

For those people who are arguing Andino should be the MVP, that is a joke. They guy is a utility IF who played like a utility IF. The fact that he marginally overachieved his very low expectations, while others did not meet/exceed their much higher expectations, do not make him the MVP. They make him a guy who will have to fight for a roster spot next year with guys like Ryan Adams and Nick Green.

THIS season, J.J. Hardy. But if you project the player who is setting the standard for all-around player, it would be Robert Andino. He has shown remarkable instincts, incredible clutch, excellent DEE, base-running skills....he is the total package (maybe more power will come with time). You can't say enough about the excitement and thrills he brings every day. Andino reminds me of what you want little-league players to grow up to be. Lots of hustle.

Wieters again is WAAAAYYYY overhyped in this column. Wasn't it, he called "great" games in the early part of the season? What has it been since?

Top guys:

Adam Jones
JJ Hardy
Jim Johnson

When Wieters starts driving in 90+ runs per season, then I'll say he's arrived, but not yet, not even close.

Judging an offensive player by his RBI numbers is like judging a starting pitcher by how many saves the closer gets. It's largely out of the player's control.

Here's Wieter's line (BA/OBP/SLG) with runners in scoring position this year:

And just for fun, here's Adam Jones line with RISP (who by any decent metric has been gawdawful defensively this year):

@ King of the Donkeys

What do you propose? Next year when Brian Roberts is retired, who would you put at 2nd base? The Orioles should get on their knees and "Thank God" that they have Robert Andino. Neither Adams nor someone like Nick Green, do not have Andino's range. Plus, the fact the Reds are going to pick up Phillips option for 2012. So it is my opinion that the Orioles are very lucky to have Andino and to have him playing well because there is no one else out there. I don't agree with your assessment at all!

Oh and also this line from the earlier written blog Dan C wrote a blogger wrote: Think about the other 2B in the AL East: Pedroia, Cano, Zobrist, and Kelly Johnson

Andino's arm and glove are as good as anyone listed. His bat is obviously behing Cano's and Pedroia, but as far as I am concerned his fielding ability is right there

oh lordy.. the Prince Fielder thing again.... when are you people gonna stop dreaming and realize he isn't coming here! but if i had to give a MVO award i think it's the fans that show up... as for player i'd go with JJ Hardy, Robert Andino, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones! as for offseason signings.. there won't be many and they will be low grade at best! see you all next season for another dreadfull one!

Brian Roberts. He just stole another ten million from the FO a second year in a row with a supposed concussion. What will be his story next year when he goes on the disabled list in April? My guess will be one of the following: turf toe, gastric ulcer, carpal tunnel syndrome or my favorite, wisdom teeth removal. He lied to us about steroids. Come on O's fans, clue in! Brian Roberts is all smoke and mirrors. Once a liar, always a liar. Yup, that's our MVP :)

1. Hardy
2. Weiters
3. Johnson

Wow !! That would very hard to answer . As bad as this Oriole team is . I can think of four that it could be .
Take Jones, Very good defence,good hit with power.
Then J.J. Hardy,very good defence,good hitter with power,could be best all round S.S.
Reynolds Very good defence at firstbase. That where he should be next year. Walks alot,has great power. Might hit forty or more next year.
Matt Weiters, What can you say about this kid . Best of all catchers , AL or NL . Learning to hit more each year. Has some pop.Very good arm .
How can you forget what J.J. Johnson , Andino has done
If others players could see how close we could be . We could be very good next year, or the year after.
To close to call!!!
Curt S.S. Md

1) Adam Jones. No question. He is the heart and soul of this team.

2) Jim Johnson. He's been overused and put in so many different spots and he's thrived in all of them.

3) JJ Hardy. A lot of big hits in clutch situations, and sold in the field.

#1 Wieters - catcher is the toughest defensive position on the field and he is one of the best MLB, and he plays it just about everyday (and with a pitching staff that doesn't make it easy on him). . 20+ homers and .260 avg. is good for catcher.

#2 Hardy - plays the second toughest defensive position and does it well. 25+ homers and >.260 avg. is good for a SS. Plus, he brings a spark to the Os that has been missing since BRob got imjured.

#3 Jones - solid offensive numbers and good play in CF, the most important OF position.

(Dis)Honorable Mention: Reynolds - You could agrue that Reynolds is both one of the Most Valuable and Least Valuable Os. Both fun and frustrating to watch with 34 homers and 30 errors. I'd like to see him in Black and Orange again in 2012, after someone hit 1,000,000 fungo ground balls this winter.

A team with close to 100 losses doesn't have a most valuable player. A more relevant question is which is the most worthless player out of the whole motley crew. That's really a tough one.

The most valuable Oriole in this organization is Buck Showalter. He needs to have a direct say in everything they do this off season. He's got more baseball sense, and the cohones to go with it, than anyone else we've had here in a long time. I'd like to see Cal in a position like Nolan Ryan with the Rangers. I believe he and Buck together could finally get this ugly mess turned around.

1. JJ Hardy
2. Robert Andino

Teddy - You know, I have no love for modern sports players because most of them are as fake as a politician. But to so jaded as to call him a "liar" because he has a lingering concussion symptoms is down right sad. Also, what did roberts lie about? If you're referring to HGH, when his name was brought up in the Mitchel Report, he confessed up. If you want to go as far to calling him a "cheater" (even though over 50% of the league was juiced at the time), ok fine. But a liar? You sound more bitter than reasonable.

It must have been Mark Connor. When he was pitching coach, the Birds were playing well. As soon as he left, the pitching (and the team's fortunes) plummeted.

Then again, when a coach abandons his team, i guess he is disqualified.

Right Smitty, Guthrie, Matusz and Tillman really excelled huh? And Arrieta had a great record but look at how deep he went in games and how many walks he gave up. He was the classic lucky guy who got lots of run support. So I guess Connor was a real success because he met once or twice with Britton. Connor quit when he realized the job of coaching young guys required him to show up and do some work. Good riddance to a guy who really phoned it in.

The battle for the Orioles MVP this year has been a pillow fight. However, I would give the nod to Hardy as well. The guy is putting up numbers at his position that we have not seen in a long, long time.

Johnson has my vote.. Hardy has been awesome, and Andino has escalated his game... Without Johnson the pitching staff rates a solid "D".

The O's MVP is Robert Andino and next year he will hit 20 Hrs plus. Best fielder on the team and smartist baseball mind.

Reynolds. Easily, with Hardy second then Jones.
How many games has Reynolds been the only offensive spark? Just like the one they just one tonight.
He made some nice plays at third along with his many throwing errors. But regardless this team desperately needed offense and without him we would be over 100 losses easily.

1. Mark Reynolds
2. Robert Andino
3. Jim Johnson
4. JJ Hardy
5. Buck Showalter

Johnny: Guthrie did pitch well at the start of the year. Tillman has always been spotty, but any success he did have was at the beginning of the year. Britton was terrific his first two months, and Arrieta was a battler (I still think he will be a strong starter). Matusz was not in the rotation the first six weeks or so (which was his best performance all year).

I don't know if the drastic downturn in the starters' performance, which coincided with Connor's exit, was BECAUSE of Connor's exit. Either way, I strongly agree with you that he quit on the team.

1. Hardy 2. Wieters 3.Johnson Andino is most improved oriole.

Hardy or Wieters ... no one else comes close.

Honorable mention: Jones

It's tough to do after a losing season.....
but the name of the Oriole MVP should be the answer to he question, "Which Oriole player's ABSENCE would have most significantly lowered the team's success in 2011 ?"

I think the answer has to come from among the four guys "up the middle"..... Weiters, Hardy, Andino, and Jones.

We've watched all four of these guys make steady play after steady play, making very few mistakes.

One has to wonder whether Hardy, had he not missed a month, would have 30+ homers and 90+ RBI's. But let's not forget how safe and confident we feel every time a ball is hit his way. He's simply one of the best SS's in the game right now. But he DID miss a month.

Adam Jones gets better every year. I think he's going to put up All-Star numbers every year very soon and achieve super-star status.
2011 was a real good season for him.
But not quite an MVP one.

Robert Andino became the default second-baseman because of Roberts' absence. But he plays the position as well as Roberts or anyone else. Plus he plays SS and 3B as well as anyone else..... and has done so on several occasions.
Everyone is saying how "improved" Andino is in 2011.
Yes.... he certainly is..... but not as much as is being implied.
Robert stepped up and filled in for Cesar Izturis during the latter's recovery from an apendectomy TWO SEASONS AGO and did the same quality job as he's doing now.
The Orioles "rewarded" him by letting him sit on the bench after Cesar returned and then by letting him "waste" over a season and a half at Norfolk after he clearly proved he could perform at the ML level.
The point is, Robert Andino has been a major league player-in-waiting for longer than most fans realize. He just hasn't been given very many opportunities. Now he has..... and now people are noticing.
But if you look at his 2011 numbers, they are not MVP numbers.

If you want to talk exponential, measurable improvement, now we come to the guy who not only has elevated his game on all sides of the plate in 2011, but is a factor on practically every pitch.

I don't think anyone could even imagine what this team would have been like without Matt Weiters behind the plate.
In a year in which our pitching clearly let us down overall...... in which our much-heralded pitching coach messed around and then quit on us..... it has been the steadying influence and patience of Weiters that has helped to keep it together even to the disappointing degree that it has come together.

This is an All-Star player without whom the Orioles would have lost 120 games in 2011. Not only has he performed with obvious improvements at all aspects of his game..... but he's done so in the wake of journalists who type-cast him as a failure last spring because he had yet to achieve super status.

Matt has responded to it all with his bat, his arm, his shin guards, his chest protector, and his mitt..... but most of all, with his heart and soul.

He IS the heart and soul of the Baltimore Orioles..... and hands down their MVP.

Wieters has been the only proper All Star this team has had in years (and I don't count those who were All Stars because each team needs to be represented). At 25, he's on his way to be the best catcher in Oriole history.

Hardy has been a nice acquisition -- nice enough to be MacPhail's best acquisition off of his short list -- but he ranks 7th on the team in games played. Sure, he has played more this year than in either of his previous two years, but missing one-fifth of your team's games is a disqualifier.

Jones has a chance to match his 149 games played from last year, so durability no longer is an issue. And he finally hit his 20th HR in the same season (currently 23). But his BB/SO ratio remains so awful that his OBP is worst than Wieters even though his BA is 20 points higher. His Gold Glove in '09 seems long ago, too.

Andino has been the biggest surprise but he's better suited as an A-minus utility player than an average every day player.

Reynolds sure can hit 'em. When he hits 'em. But his best production is typically with the bases empty, batting seventh, in the middle innings, and/or with the Orioles up or down by four or more runs. He may be second on the team in games played but that hasn't stopped him from disappearing for spans of a week or more at a time.

Of the other two players who played at least 100 games, imagine someone batting in the mid-.280's, 56 doubles, 28 home runs, and 131 RBI's. Unfortunately, that was the combined totals of Guerrero and Markakis -- two professional ball players, one of which is a shell of his former HOF self and the other who apparently has a lower upside than was originally evident.

Amongst the pitchers, think of someone who exceeds all others by at least five starts and 57 innings, has two of the three complete games, and the lowest ERA amongst the starters. Unfortunately, that someone is 9-17. Guthrie deserves some sort of award. If he's around here next year, maybe he'll get the support to have a winning record.

Britton and Arrieta are the only other starters worth considering. Hopefully, they will have a bright future, but for this year neither was dominating enough for the amount of innings that were put in.

Gregg is our save leader (20 out of 30 total so far) but his 40 walks in 56 2/3 innings helped his ERA get to a portly 4.61 and his WHIP up to almost an alarming 1.7.

The only other relievers worth mentioning is Johnson and Uehara. JJ leads in games and innings amongst relievers, and his 2.66 ERA and nine recent saves suggest the team has its closer for 2012. But it wasn't enough for this year's MVO award. Koji had the best ERA, and his WHIP was off-the-charts good. Unfortunately on a 90-loss team, his best value was his trade value. Even at 37, he may be worth reacquiring for next year.

That's pretty much it amongst the players. My order is Wieters, Hardy, Jones. After that, the drop-off may be defined differently but it's there.

1. Hardy
3. Weiters
4. Adinio
5. Showalter
6. Jones

I like Hardy and Jones. But for the third spot, I have to with Weiters. He may have produced a few less runs with his offense than the other two, but how many runs did he save with his defense? I have to give it to him above Johnson for overall contribution to the team through the course of the season.

1. JJ Hardy
2. Adam Jones
3. Matt Wieters
Honorable Mention: Mark Reynolds

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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