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Orioles prospect season in review: Coby Mayo

After a strong showing in High-A, Mayo spent much of his time in Double-A struggling with a back injury.

Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles
We have no pictures of Coby Mayo, so here is The Bird.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

There are many reasons to root for the success of Coby Mayo, not the least of which is that he has a name created to be spoken by Baltimore-area natives. But when will the Camden Yards faithful finally get the chance to call his name?

Drafted as a third baseman out of Stoneman Douglas High School in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, the 20-year-old Mayo started 2022 with the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds. He had already gotten some positive attention for his offensive performance in 2021 in the Florida Coast League and Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds, and that continued in Aberdeen.

In 68 games with the IronBirds, Mayo’s batting average and on-base percentage dropped some from the year before, but you could hardly blame him as he was absolutely making the most of every hit in a league where he was 2.5 years younger than the average player. Exactly half of his hits with the IronBirds (32 out of 64) went for extra bases as he hit 16 doubles, 14 homers, and threw in two triples for good measure.

His performance earned him a late June promotion to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, but unfortunately, he didn’t get much of a chance to make a first impression. After just three games in Double-A, Mayo was placed on the injured list due to back spasms. He didn’t make it back to Bowie until August 9th.

After missing over a month of playing time, Mayo never quite got back to form for his final 31 games of the season, hitting just five home runs with a .336 OBP. That fact isn’t ideal but it’s also nothing to worry about at this point, where not only was Mayo shaking off the rust after missing a month with an injury, but he was also nearly four years younger than the average Double-A player. The important thing is that he finished healthy.

While Mayo was drafted in the fourth round, he was considered second-round talent at the time, getting an above-slot bonus using money saved when the Orioles went under slot on Heston Kjerstad. One publication that has loved Mayo all along is FanGraphs, which ranked him at #53 in their top 100, with the comment that he is “perhaps a swing change away from vaulting into the top half of this list.” That’s what I like to hear!

Not all prospect evaluators are as high on him, however. Keith Law remarked in 2020 that the Orioles didn’t use their saved money wisely when they spent it on him and after his promotion to Bowie, Law noted that his performance didn’t warrant it.

We’ll just have to watch and see. He is ranked as the sixth or seventh-best Orioles prospect on the big lists, in the mix with the other players that Orioles fans are very excited about. But what should we expect to see next year? And where will he play?

Mayo should begin the 2023 season with the Baysox, but with an eye for promotion if he can get back in the groove offensively for a sustained period. Remember, he’s still very young and if he progresses to the point of a major league promotion, it probably will not be until 2024.

He played third base almost exclusively in 2022, but there have been concerns that his size could push him to a corner outfield spot. But he has not actually played the outfield at any point in his minor-league career so that is only theoretical at this point. If he does stay with the Orioles rather than get traded as part of #liftoff, the team could also run into a logjam in the infield that could necessitate a move to the outfield or across the diamond to first base.

Again, that’s all just in theory. For now, he is a third baseman. One who will, hopefully, hit many dingers for the Orioles in the years to come. They might look something like this:

Previously: Fallen prospect roundup, Jean Pinto, Darell Hernaiz, Drew Rom, international prospect roundup, César Prieto, Mike Baumann, Hudson Haskin, John Rhodes and Reed Trimble, Cade Povich and Chayce McDermott, Joey Ortiz, Terrin Vavra, injured pitcher roundup

Tomorrow: Kyle Stowers