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Saturday Bird Droppings: Cedric Mullins is really good

Hitting for the cycle, debuting the Bird Bath, and minor league logjams that need to be resolved.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Last night was a perfect example of just how special Cedric Mullins is as a player, and how important he is to this Orioles team.

He hits for the cycle, seals the win with a huge home run, and makes an important diving catch in the outfield. The only thing missing from this showcase was a stolen base, but we’ll let that slide.

Our own Andrea SK went into detail earlier this week about how much better Mullins has been this year.

Now, there is plenty of season to go, and Mullins may revert back to his 2022 baseline. But it’s not like we are dealing with smoke and mirrors here. Most of the things Mullins is doing seem legitimate. His .308 BABIP is reasonable. He’s striking out 18% of the time, right in line with his career. And we have enough a track record to know he’s not a flash in the pan. This guy is one of the best center fielders in the game, and he’s playing like it.

The big difference has been his walk rate. He’s walking 13% of the time this year versus 8.1% for his career. That has ballooned his OBP to .365 this season, slightly higher than the .360 OBP he had back in 2021, when he was in the MVP discussion.

Mullins is arguably the team’s most valuable player right now. He leads the Orioles with 1.5 fWAR, and that’s because he’s an elite defender and base runner that has also rediscovered his 2021 form at the plate. The league is on notice.


How a joke turned a bird bath idea into an Orioles experience at Camden Yards | The Baltimore Banner
Keegan Akin and Cole Irvin aren’t currently on the Orioles’ big league roster, but they may be two of the organization’s most important vibes ambassadors for the 2023 season anyway. Not only were they the creators of the famous homer hose, but now it sounds like a section of fan seating was (at least partially) their idea too.

After ‘humbling’ return to Triple-A, Kyle Stowers is searching for his role with Orioles | The Baltimore Sun
If it was 2019, Stowers might be batting cleanup for this team every night. But in 2023 playing time is just harder to come by. And now with Colton Cowser tearing up Triple-A it’s starting feel like Stowers might get squeezed out in the months ahead.

Logjams forming at multiple levels in Orioles organization | Roch Kubatko
You know one way to alleviate a minor league log jam? Trades. There would surely be some off-limits names. But it’s not possible for the Orioles to stay out of the trade market if the team keeps playing anywhere near their current pace. By the way, that current pace is a 106-win campaign.

‘It’s contagious’: Driven by young stars, the Orioles’ optimism is splashing into the stands in Baltimore | Yahoo! Sports
A more in-depth and national look at the upstart O’s and their water-themed antics.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Mychal Givens turns 33 today. Drafted as an infielder in 2009, Givens eventually transitioned to pitching and has been a successful big league reliever for nearly a decade now. His first stint with the O’s was 2015 to 2020, and he re-signed with the club this past offseason but injuries have prevented a return yet this season.
  • David Hernández is 38. The righty spent two seasons on the Orioles pitching staff from 2009 to 2010 before he was packaged with Kam Mickolio in a deal that landed infielder Mark Reynolds in Baltimore.
  • Ryan Bukvich is 45 years old. His stay with the O’s was all of four games during the 2008 season.
  • Lyle Mouton celebrates his 54th. The outfielder played in 18 games for the ‘98 Birds.
  • Juan Beníquez is 73 today. He played five different positions plus DH for the 1986 Orioles, posting 0.5 bWAR for his efforts.

This day in O’s history

2018 - Former Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard has a big day after being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk only hours earlier. He goes deep twice and drives in four. Danny Valencia and Trey Mancini also homer as Dylan Bundy tosses seven scoreless innings in 17-1 win over the Rays.