First baseman Trey Mancini just put together his second consecutive strong season, this one coming mostly at the triple-A level. After being drafted out of Notre Dame in the 8th round of the 2013 amateur draft, Mancini has progressed nicely through the minors.
After a strong 2015 season that saw Mancini mash at both single-A and double-A, he started right back up in 2016. He started the year with the double-A Bowie Baysox, where he hit .302/.413/.698 in just 17 games. That’s how long it took the powers that be to realize that he didn’t really belong with the Baysox.
And so on April 25th Mancini packed his bags and started up with his new team, the triple-A Norfolk Tides. Over the final 125 games of the season he hit a respectable .280/.349/.427 with 13 home runs and 22 doubles in the pitchers’ park that is Harbor Park.
The month of August was brutal for Mancini as his .584 OPS was by far his worst month of the season and dragged down his season numbers. But he bounced back a bit at the end of the season and was ultimately named the Tides’ MVP for the season.
One interesting thing about Mancini, and something that might get him a major-league shot sooner rather than later, is the fact that he has absolutely destroyed left-handed pitching at the minor league level. This season he had an OPS of .901 against lefties and in 2015 he was even better at 1.142.
You may have heard that the Orioles aren’t very good at hitting lefties, so if he could come close to that at the major league level it would be big.
Mancini is ranked by MLB.com as the Orioles’ fifth-best prospect, and last month John Sickels wrote at MinorLeagueBall.com that Mancini looks ready for a go in the majors “if they can find a way to get him into the lineup.”
That’s the key, you see, because Mancini has played all 483 of his minor league games at first base. If you’ve been paying attention to the Orioles you know that there is a certain large man who will be spending the next 6+ seasons at that position.
Unlike with Christian Walker, who spent 90 games this season in the outfield to try and learn a new position, Mancini hasn’t been moved. In an interview with Press Box earlier this year Mancini noted that he’s blocked at the major league level and said that he’s been playing the outfield pre-game to prepare for the possibility that he might have to move. But considering he hasn’t played any games in the outfield yet, I’m not holding my breath.
If Mancini doesn’t change positions, it seems that his path to the majors would be as a DH/backup 1B. Otherwise it’s hard to see him where he fits in.