Good morning, Camden Chatters.
For the first time in three weeks, the Orioles got to take a day off yesterday, following a brutal 20-games-in-20-days stretch in which they went 5-15. Still, they finished it hot, with a thrilling three-game road sweep of the Astros, who had been the best team in the American League.
If the Orioles used part of their night off to watch ESPN’s All-Star Starter Selection show, they were left disappointed when the club’s most deserving player, Cedric Mullins, failed to crack the starting AL outfield.
It’s certainly through no fault of his own. By the numbers, Mullins should have been a slam-dunk selection. He leads all AL players with 99 hits and all AL outfielders with a .942 OPS. His 3.7 WAR per FanGraphs is the best of any AL outfielder, far better than the three outfielders who were voted starters: Mike Trout (2.3), Aaron Judge (2.5), and Teoscar Hernandez (1.1). In a just world, Mullins would be voted in in a cakewalk.
Alas, Cedric is still far from a household name among baseball fans, and he plays for the AL’s worst team, which no doubt hurt him in the voting. Mullins had no real track record before this season, unlike the high-profile names of Trout and Judge. I get why he didn’t garner the votes those two did. But...Teoscar Hernandez? Really? A poor-fielding Blue Jay with decent but not spectacular offensive numbers? How did that guy beat out Mullins? Mullins, in fact, finished sixth in the outfield voting with 10 percent, also trailing Byron Buxton and Michael Brantley.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost for Mullins to start the game. Trout will be unable to play because of a calf strain, and Mullins — who will surely be named an All-Star reserve on Sunday — is a top candidate to replace him in the lineup. Said ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on the selection show: “I think with Trout injured, if there’s any justice, Cedric Mullins should start in center field for the American League All-Star team this year, and my guess is he will.”
There’s still time for a wrong to be righted. However it shakes out, O’s fans can be mighty proud of Cedric Mullins’ performance for the 2021 Birds so far.
Should the Orioles trade Cedric Mullins? A panel of former GMs discuss what they’d do – The Athletic
Asked if they would trade Mullins, three GMs give a definitive “no,” while Jim Bowden offers an awkward metaphor about broken bones and bleeding. I’m going to agree with the first three.
Jordan Westburg settles in at Aberdeen (series sweep notes) - Steve Melewski
Melewski checks in with the Orioles’ #6 prospect, who's heating up at High-A after a brilliant showing at Low-A Delmarva. And he’s already serving as a mentor to Gunnar Henderson, which is kind of adorable for a guy who’s only 22 himself.
All-time Orioles top Draft picks - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza runs down the Orioles’ first draft pick in every season since 1965, and wow, there was about a 30-year span from the ‘60s through late ‘80s where almost none of their top picks ever amounted to anything, Bobby Grich aside. It didn’t hurt them for most of that span, at least.
Sceroler “thankful for this whole entire situation” - School of Roch
Mac Sceroler is officially an ex-Oriole after the former Rule 5 pick was returned to the Reds, but he has some kind things to say about the Birds, particularly their analytics department.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And a very happy birthday to 1963 six-game lefty Pete Burnside, who turns 91 years young today. Also celebrating a birthday today is former Rule 5 right-hander Pedro Araujo (28).
On this day in 1975, O’s left fielder Don Baylor crushed three home runs in his first three at-bats (off three different pitchers) in a 13-5 blowout at Tiger Stadium. Baylor, who had also homered in his last at-bat the previous night in Boston, tied a major league record with his four consecutive homers.
In 2004, the O’s outlasted the Phillies in a 16-inning marathon at Citizens Bank Park, 7-6. Miguel Tejada’s RBI single in the 16th, nine innings after either team had last scored, provided the margin of victory. The O’s bullpen did incredible work, throwing 15 innings without allowing an earned run after starter Matt Riley gave up five. Righty Eddy Rodriguez earned his first major league win, and fellow rookie Daniel Cabrera earned his first (and only) career save with a scoreless 16th.
And on this day in 2013, the Orioles made one of the most regrettable trades in recent MLB history, trading Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Cubs for veteran righty Scott Feldman. It seemed like a decent idea at the time; Arrieta had sputtered to a 5.46 ERA in parts of four years with the O’s and was seemingly making no progress, while Strop had an ugly 7.25 mark that year. The rest was history — Arrieta immediately resuscitated his career with the Cubs and won the Cy Young Award in 2015, Strop became a mainstay in the Chicago bullpen for eight years, and both were key contributors to the Cub’s 2016 championship. Meanwhile, Feldman left the Orioles after just one season, in which the club went nowhere.