Mullins Should be an All-Star Starter

Baltimore Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins has been one of the lone bright spots in a terrible season for the team. Mullins boasts what could be considered to be the best start of anyone in the MLB this season, hitting .459 with a .512 on-base percentage along with a .676 slugging percentage through April 11. What’s even more of a feat is the fact that the 26-year-old had very little help around him.

Mullins didn’t have as good a month in the one to follow, with his form at the plate heading downward as he hit just .255/.336/.396 to take his batting average down by 42 points from where it was in April. Of course, the numbers were still great but, by recent standards, not as bright.

Come June, the player is back to his brilliant best. He’s 12-for-20 in his first five games this month, boasting a double, a triple, and a trio of home runs. Add those to four RBI, seven runs, and no strikeouts and we have quite the impressive All-Star candidate – especially if May’s final two games are taken into consideration.

Mullins has achieved all of this in the wake of switching his swing to the left side only during the offseason. Formerly a switch hitter, the North Carolina native had glaring issues hitting southpaws early in his career. This season, though, he’s got a batting average of and .833 OPS against left-handed pitching.

The centerfiedler had itself quite the weekend last week. Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians saw him impress on both sides of the ball and he neared the Orioles’ record for hits in consecutive at-bats. He reached base in 11 straight plate appearances and hit safely in nine consecutive at-bats going back to Friday night. He would go 3-for-4 with two walks as the 18-5 win was put to bed, having gone 5-for-5 on Saturday.

The player has revealed he was unaware of the streak.

“Not a single person told me anything [about the streak], probably for good reason,” he was quoted as saying. “I think it’ll hit me a little later. Right now I’m still in celebration mode with the team winning.”

“What he’s doing right now, I don’t have words for it,” manager Brandon Hyde added. “He’s doing a little bit of absolutely everything right now. When you have days like this, you relish in the moment.”

The entire team could use some of what Mullins is having right now and he has no issue sharing his confidence with his colleagues.

“There is a lot of confidence involved with being on the tear I am right now,” the center remarked. “I want to continue to spread that confidence to the rest of the team as much as I can.”

Ty Wigginton made Orioles history when he became an All-Star in 2010. He was the team’s only player in the game although he recorded an unimpressive .768 OPS at the halfway mark. A long-standing edict from MLB requires that every team send a player to the Midseason Classic. While Hyde’s Orioles might not finish with a record better than the 66-96 the Orioles posted in 2010, the team will have very little trouble deciding who to send to the All-Star Game next month. Odds on Baltimore going over or under 64.5 this season are both 5/6, with bookmakers such as Pointsbet also offering great MLB odds the rest of the term.

That isn’t to say that Mullins is the only option this season but he certainly stands head and shoulders above his peers, especially with ace John Means taking at least a few starts off to rest an achy shoulder.

As well as he’s been on the plate, Mullins has been formidable in defense as well, with his first step, pace, and instincts all impressing on a nightly basis. Mullins ranks in the 98th percentile when it comes to outs above the average and the six outs above average he’s posted in 2021 are tied for second place among all MLB outfielders, behind only Tampa Bay Rays stars Manuel Margot‘s and Brett Phillips’ nine.

Mullins’ nine stolen bases leave him tied at ninth in the league, though he only has a 69 percent success rate where it pertains to trying to steal bases as he’s been thrown out four times.

Mullins isn’t simply the best player on a bad team; what he is doing right now would be amazing for any player, especially one who was drafted in the 13th round – from Campbell University at that. The numbers he has been putting up have him in rare company and, not only is he deserving of an All-Star selection, there’s every chance he could be the American League’s starting centerfielder this year.

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