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As the Baltimore Orioles try to recover from one of the worst months in franchise history, one player is doing his best to give the fans hope and optimism that winning baseball will return in the not-so-distant future.
Cedric Mullins cooled off after a scoring April, but that sweet swing was on full display this weekend against the Indians. Mullins finished the series 9-12 against the Indians, including reaching base safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances. Mullins launched three home runs in the series and elevated his OPS to .923, among the league’s best.
Mullins’ excellence extended outside the batter’s box, as the rangy center fielder made yet another diving grab on Saturday.
“What he’s doing right now, I don’t have words for it,” manager Brandon Hyde said on Sunday. “He’s doing a little bit of absolutely everything right now.”
Mullins is indeed doing it all. He leads the Orioles in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also leads the team in doubles, walks and stolen bases. Mullins has 73 hits this season, the most in Major League Baseball.
Again, Mullins’ skills go beyond the plate. His five outs above average puts him in the 97th percentile in the majors and Baseball Reference puts him in the top five in total zone runs and range factor among center fielders.
What we are witnessing — hopefully — is the blossoming of a young superstar. Mullins has the infectious smile, the effort and will power, as well as the talent. He’s everything you’d want in a center fielder of the future.
The franchise is clearly still figuring things out in other places. The pitching has been mostly bad for the last few weeks and too many hitters are consistently inconsistent. And don’t get me started on John Means’ trip to the injured list.
But for right now, I’m trying to enjoy this version of Cedric Mullins as much as I can. Not six months ago, I was ready to give up on the guy and let Austin Hays take a run in center field. But Mullins has shown he’s capable of taking the torch from Adam Jones, even if it’s a couple years later. Mullins deserves a spot in the All-Star game, no question about it.