Seeing notions of Orioles prospect Coby Mayo ending up at positions that aren’t third base makes no sense to this detailed observer. Suggestions of him playing outfield have me questioning where this is coming from.
To be sure I wasn’t crazy, I went back & looked at videos from his time in Delmarva and the FCL in Sarasota, focusing on defense.
Strength and accuracy not in question.
Gather to throw is organized, not lengthy.
Balance is maintained from a strong core upward.
Throw gets out in time and is high velocity across the diamond.
Weight gain mixed with flexibility eases any concerns about future throws.
A true weapon at corner.
Being tall and not particularly high-waisted, Mayo’s reach is superb.
Starting even with the bag, he can take one step and cover his glove side hole or pivot to guard the line with ease.
Lateral movement and stability is where you start to notice the athleticism. Light on his feet for a large frame. Foot movements are quick. Up-and-down maneuvers powered by a very strong core.
Adept at taking grounders off the bounce quickly transitioning into throwing posture.
Organized and polished with the glove.
Can extend well and get to liners.
Fundamentally sound so hops can be adjusted to with ease.
Innate knowledge of situations and understanding has him ready.
Pre-pitch positioning is quite built in at this point, just need pro practice reps to reinforce. Spatial awareness and the internal clock are already at a level a MLB club can trust with room to improve still.
The key indicator of an infielder as opposed to an outfielder is the natural understanding of angles matched by a preternatural ability to get into position to maximize them. He uses his ‘tallness’ as an advantage, being slightly closer to 1st base yet still whipping strong throws to beat runners badly. That’s a true separating skill. And trying someone who possesses these rare abilities at a position where a) they can’t use them and especially b) have no experience at on any level, would be, in my mind, a monumental waste of talent.
This is not a regular ‘glove guy.’ Coby represents an outstanding power hitter with a potentially elite defensive foundation. Upon being selected in the 4th round of a franchise-shifting 2020 draft, Orioles supervisor of domestic scouting Brad Ciolek said of Mayo at 3rd:
‘’Extremely interesting. He is a strong, athletic 6-foot-4 kid with a double-plus arm at third base”
If this were the Orioles of yesteryear, I could see a position switch, but this regime does skill maximization as well as anyone. I’m going to hold fast to my contention that when the O’s have Gunnar Henderson at SS and Coby next to him playing 3rd it’ll be time to start expecting very big things.
And further, him playing in the outfield would be an underutilization of rare baseball gifts.