by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
When we talk about Baltimore outfield prospects the first name that likely comes to mind is Austin Hays, and while he may deserve it (though not in 2018) it has allowed Cedric Mullins to fly under-the-radar. It makes sense that he’s been underrated and overlooked, being drafted in the 13th round in 2015. However he’s starting to force the issue and deserves everyone’s attention.
After thriving at Double-A to open the year he was pushed to Triple-A and hasn’t yet seen the same success. It’s a small sample size, though, and he likely just needs time to adjust to the level:
- Double-A (201 AB) – .313 with 6 HR, 28 RBI, 36 R and 9 SB
- Triple-A (68 AB) – .206 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R and 3 SB
He’s added 18 doubles and 5 triples, showing some power potential, and is 12-for-13 on SB attempts overall. Even more impressive has been his ability to make consistent contact, with a 6.7% SwStr% overall (7.1% over his time at Triple-A). He’s also hit the ball relatively hard at each level (22.8% line drive rate at Double-A and 20.8% at Triple-A), and with his speed it’s easy to say his .212 BABIP at Triple-A is going to improve.
Consistent Contact + Solid Line Drive Rate + Poor BABIP = Impending Hot Streak
Couple that upside with his power and speed and we are looking at a player who could profile as a .290/12/25 type player (with even more possible). Clearly he doesn’t get that type of respect, but he deserves it. He may not be a slugging outfielder, but he could be a game changer at the top of the Baltimore batting order. With speed down across the game, that almost makes him more valuable.
Baltimore leadoff hitters currently have the second worst OBP in baseball (.280), and are hitting .200 with 3 SB. There’s a need, and a need in the outfield for the rebuilding club. Mullins time is coming, don’t make the mistake of overlooking him.
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs