by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Orioles are not a team particularly deep on high level prospects and things will get even shallower with Trey Mancini (#5 ranked prospect) in the Majors and set to graduate from the listing. With injuries continually derailing their high-end pitching prospects and a lackluster group of hitters (aside from Chance Sisco), it’s easy to overlook any bright spot that could present itself. Enter Cedric Mullins, a player who has the potential to leap into the team’s Top 5 by year’s end.
It’s a bit surprising that he isn’t generating more attention than he has, coming off an impressive full season debut. A 2015 13th round draft pick, the 22-year old switch-hitter showed off both power and speed at Single-A:
517 At Bats
14 Home Runs
30 Stolen Bases
55 Runs Batted In
Not only did he show over the fence power, but he added 37 doubles and 10 triples. He also was efficient on the base paths, being caught just six times (83.33% success rate). Is it his pedigree that’s keeping out of the spotlight? Perhaps, though in baseball we’ve become accustomed to players rising from obscurity.
Interestingly, while strikeouts are a bit of a concern his 18.1% mark isn’t going to raise too many red flags. Everyone would like to see him become more patient (6.6% walk rate), and that’s something that can come in time. Regardless, it’s not a crippling mark.
There was a distinct split in his numbers, as he struggled against southpaws:
- vs. RHP – .290/.333/.499
- vs. LHP – .217/.282/.350
He had a similar split at Low-A in ’15 (.181/.272/.278 against LHP), which makes you wonder if his future lies as part of a platoon down the line. It’s possible, but it’s far too early to make that type of declaration.
You also have to wonder if he’ll be able to maintain his power, standing at just 5’8”. No one is going to compare him to the Astros’ Jose Altuve, but keep in mind that he stands at 5’6” and it’s not impossible that Mullins continues to round the bases. We aren’t going to say he’s going to develop into a 35+ home run threat, but there is power in his bat and it’s possible he can routinely hit 10-15 HR. Here’s how MLB.com recently described him:
“Mullins’ game is built on his plus speed and feel for hitting. He’s more advanced from the left side of the plate, with enough bat speed to turn on plus velocity and barrel control that enables his use of the entire field. He’s also an adept bunter. And while he stands just 5-foot-8, Mullins has above-average raw power to all fields and consistently pounds the gaps.”
Couple that with his speed, which is his strongest asset, and there’s a lot to like. The potential is there to make a significant leap in 2017, so keep a close eye on him.
Current Grade – C
Upside Grade – B/B+
Developments to monitor for 2017:
- Development against left-handed pitching
- Ability to improve walk rate
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs