Cedric Mullins Poised to Make His Baltimore Orioles Debut

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 27: Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 27: Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles are making a much-anticipated move on Friday, selecting the contract of center fielder Cedric Mullins from Triple-A Norfolk.

The Baltimore Orioles are taking another step in looking toward the future by electing to select the contract of Cedric Mullins as he makes his Baltimore Orioles debut Friday night against the Boston Red Sox.

This move has been anticipated since the end of July, but recent circumstances led people to believe that it was a matter of days.

Adam Jones was taking fly balls in right field. Then Mullins was out of the lineup. However, it wasn’t due to being promoted, but due to a stomach virus.

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Now that he is healthy, Mullins is moving on up.

The switch-hitting center fielder will like see plenty of playing time the rest of the season, as the Orioles need to get a sense of what they have in Mullins.

Some believe Mullins will be a long-time starting center fielder. Others believe he is a younger version of Craig Gentry. Either one of those is useful on a major league roster.

However, on a contending team, only one of them is a starter.

And that is what the Orioles need to find out, whether Mullins is going to be able to be a regular in the lineup for the Orioles?

Mullins tore it up at Double-A Bowie in the Eastern League in 2018, hitting .313/.362/.512 with six home runs, five triples, 12 doubles, 28 runs batted in and 36 runs scored, along with nine stolen bases.

Then he was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk, and it took him a while to adjust.

However, he is now hitting .267/.332/.425 with five home runs, three triples, 17 doubles, 46 runs batted in and 40 runs scored, along with 12 stolen bases.

Perhaps even better in the stolen base department is he has only been caught once.

So, it is quite clear that Mullins has some speed. And, with 29 doubles across the two leagues, he clearly has power as well, even if it isn’t home run power.

Mullins also generally is not a huge strikeout guy, although he doesn’t walk a ton either.

However, he is the closest this team can get to a leadoff hitter at this point.

Now, what does this do for the rest of the outfield?

Well, Mullins is going to start, and most would assume in center field, assuming Adam Jones is okay with moving to right field.

If Jones’ tweet and Friday’s lineup are indicators, Jones is okay.

Trey Mancini will likely man left field, as long as Chris Davis is at first base and Mark Trumbo is at designated hitter.

If one of them is out of the lineup, then it could be Jace Peterson in left field or Joey Rickard.

Rickard, who despite his .222 batting average has been hitting well of late (.300 average in August, albeit in three starts), now becomes the fourth outfielder, which is likely the right role for him. The only issue there is his lack of ability to steal bases.

With Valencia designated for assignment, the Orioles continue to remove players from the roster who won’t be with them next season.

This hurts their bench but means Buck Showalter doesn’t have to worry about playing his best players, and just evaluating what guys like Peterson, Renato Nunez and Jonathan Villar can bring to the Orioles in the future.

The Orioles now have 10 days to trade Valencia, and one has to assume they have something lined up. The return won’t be much, but Valencia will be a useful left-handed hitter for a team looking for a bench piece, or maybe in need of a designated hitter. The Orioles are full of those.

Orioles fans have been clamoring for Mullins, and now he is in Baltimore. Time to take the next month and a half and evaluate the speedster, and determine his role for the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.