Every person who has set foot on Eutaw Street for the past 10 years has been greeted by a towering warehouse in right field, scenic views of downtown Baltimore, and Adam Jones starting in center field. Unfortunately for the Orioles organization and its fans, 2018 is shaping up to be the biggest crossroad that the team has faced in the 21st century. With trade rumors swarming the team, it is likely that Adam Jones will not be the starting center fielder for the Orioles come 2019, or maybe even come August 1st. While Baltimore will be losing a leader and cornerstone of the franchise, there is a young man in AAA Norfolk that will be ready to take his place.
Cedric Mullins is a center fielder that was drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and today he is the 6th ranked prospect in the Orioles farm system according to MLB Pipeline. This ranking was not given based on great scouting grades or potential. Cedric has earned every bit of his ranking by going out on the baseball field every single day and simply producing.
Ever since he started in Low-A ball, Cedric’s wRC+ has been greater than 100 (league average) every single year. His excellent play on the field has advanced Cedric through the minor leagues fairly quickly. Since his arrival in AAA just over a month ago, the numbers he has been putting up have been impressive to say the least. Excluding his first 6 games in AAA, Mullins has recorded a slash line of .302/.360/.503 with 4 HRs and 14 doubles in 165 PAs, while only striking out in 13% of plate appearances. In addition to his value at the plate, Mullins will also give the orioles value in the outfield and on the base paths. His speed grade is currently a 60/60, and in his career he has stolen 71 bases while only being caught 18 times. His fielding abilities are also a major part of what makes Mullins such a great player. Even if he struggles at the plate, he will still be a player worth putting in the lineup because of his ability to make excellent plays in the outfield and chase down balls hit into the gap.
If Adam Jones is traded at the deadline, it is likely that Mullins will be called up to take his place in August. If not, expect a September call-up for the 23-year-old. Regardless, when the day comes that number 10 is no longer patrolling the center grass at Camden Yards, expect an unfamiliar face to grab your attention with stellar defensive plays and an excellent bat. If he continues to grow at the rate he has been for the past 3 years, expect another long tenured centerfielder to stay with the Orioles.