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Saturday Bird Droppings: Cedric Mullins is just the best

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The Orioles have a lot of problems, but their center fielder is most definitely not one.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Cedric Mullins is playing like the best center fielder in baseball. Among qualified players at the position, the Orioles star leads MLB in batting average (.322), on-base percentage (.395), slugging percentage (.540), stolen bases (12), wRC+ (157), and fWAR (3.3) this season.

The two-home-run performance Friday evening on what was his own t-shirt night at Camden Yards serves as just the latest reminder of what a special season Mullins has enjoyed to this point. There is no question that he deserves a spot in Denver at next month’s All-Star Game. In fact, he should be the American League starter.

What remains unknown is how this breakout from Mullins will impact the plans of Mike Elias and the Orioles’ front office moving forward. Up until recently, it seemed like much of the team’s roster consisted of stopgap solutions across the diamond with a possible exception for guys like Ryan Mountcastle or Austin Hays, two players that featured on “Top 100 Prospect” lists for years prior to debuting in the bigs.

Mullins was never expected to have that type of ceiling, and given his significant struggles early in his big league tenure, it would have been reasonable for the O’s to lump him in with the rest of the players that were positioned to simply take up space until the Adley Rutschman era of prospects arrived on the scene.

But Mullins has been so good, is young enough, and remains far enough away from arbitration that the Orioles may need to rethink things a bit. It is now entirely possible that Mullins will be the club’s center fielder for the present and (hopefully competitive) future. That’s pretty cool for a former 13th-round pick who was demoted two whole levels just a few seasons ago.

Links

Mullins strengthens ‘amazing’ All-Star bid | Orioles.com
The Orioles will not be receiving a pity all-star bid this year. Mullins is a stud. Trey Mancini has been great. And John Means is still in the Cy Young discussion. That feels pretty nice.

This might be baseball’s newest curse | MLB.com
It’s all John Means’s fault! He made a deal with the baseball devil, trading his near perfect game in exchange for the Orioles’ ability to win on the road. Honestly, in 2021, I make that deal too.

Hyde on Zimmermann: “He is progressing and he should be fine” | School of Roch
Be honest, when you learned that Bruce Zimmermann’s start was going to be replaced by Thomas Eshelman you were less than enthused. But Eshelman turned in a solid performance, and it sounds like Zimmermann will be back in short order.

As Orioles top prospect Adley Rutschman grows in Bowie, his star potential is clear: ‘You’re awed every day’ | The Baltimore Sun
Rutschman is the best catcher in the entire Orioles organization, big league roster included. It would be cool to see him in Baltimore at some point this season, and the argument for that not happening will be almost impossible to back up if he continues to hit the way he has thus far in Double-A Bowie.

Oh no, we suck again (Ep. 73) | The Warehouse Podcast
This past week may have been the worst of all for a team that has had quite a few bad weeks. You can hear me and my pal Eli discuss the misery if you would like.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Logan Verrett turns 31 today. The right-handed pitcher appeared in four games for the 2017 Orioles, tossing 10.2 innings in total.
  • Val Majewski celebrates his 40th birthday. The outfielder made his way into nine games with the 2004 O’s, which represented the entirety of his MLB experience.
  • Bruce Chen is 44 years old today. The 17-season MLB veteran spent three seasons with the Orioles from 2004 through 2006, accumulating a 4.61 ERA over 343.2 total innings.
  • Willis Roberts turns 46 today. He was a right-handed pitcher for the O’s from 2001 through 2003.
  • Butch Davis is 63. The outfielder played in 18 games with the Orioles between 1988 and ‘89. He went 7-for-31 during his brief stay in Baltimore.
  • Happy 92nd birthday to Don Ferrarese. The southpaw pitched in 50 games with the Orioles between 1955 and ‘57, his longest run with any one club over his nine years in the big leagues.

This day in history

2010 - Orioles “ace” Kevin Millwood records his first win of the season in his 15th start. He gone 0-8 in the previous 14 and would win just four decisions all season long.