Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

The Baltimore Orioles star sets the tone in his new role

By meerna Jun12,2024

The Baltimore Orioles have a lot of good players, but Gunnar Henderson sets the tone for them.

Statistically, he is their best player, leading the Orioles in home runs (21), OPS (.974) and WAR (4.6). He is also their most reliable player, as he is the only player to have played in all 65 of the team’s games so far.

Henderson was Baltimore’s starting quarterback in all but three of those contests, setting the stage for one of the best offenses in baseball. After outplaying Henderson throughout his lineup last season during his AL Rookie of the Year campaign, manager Brandon Hyde entrusted Henderson with the role of his everyday leadoff hitter, replacing Cedric Mullins.

Suffice it to say, the move paid off. Henderson excelled in that role, scoring seven homers, often giving the Orioles an early lead before fans had even sat down.

His last leadoff bomb came during Monday’s 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Henderson followed Ryan Pepiot’s first pitch of the game to center field, giving Baltimore an immediate 1-0 lead en route to its fourth straight victory.

Thank you to Henderson for his aggressive approach and willingness to deal damage early in the game. Many hitters often want to shorten their first at-bat and need a few innings to get comfortable with the game, but not Henderson. He’s ready to go after all the intense preparation and comes out swinging, attacking unsuspecting pitchers.

That said, one wonders if his elite power isn’t being wasted a bit at the top of the batting chart. Fourteen of his 21 homers this year have come with the bases empty, and he likely would have had more RBIs had he hit in the middle of the order.

However, Henderson is comfortable, so it’s probably not worth changing it at this stage. He’s having an MVP-level season and he belongs there until further notice.

By meerna

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