O’s Have an Under-the-Radar Speedster

So, I was listening to the MLB Pipeline Podcast and they gave praise to an Orioles prospect. No, it wasn’t Adley Rutschman, or Grayson Rodriguez, or even DL Hall. They were discussing 2019 14th Round pick Mason Janvrin out of Division II Central Missouri. Janvrin isn’t even on an Orioles Top 30 Prospects List in any publication.

“Why would they talk about a no-name Orioles prospect,” you may ask yourself. Two words: Blazing Speed.

The discussion topic was brought up: Who are the fastest players in each organization? For the Orioles, my mind immediately goes to Ryan McKenna or even Zach Watson (Drafted out of LSU last year, scouting grade of a 70 for the run tool). But no, Mason Janvrin, the son of Kip Janvrin, ranks atop the list. Kip was an Olympic athlete, competing in the 2000 Decathlon in Sydney. Kip would go on to coach his son and coached the Central Missouri Track & Field team. Speed runs through Mason’s blood.

As the legend has it, scouts once clocked Mason at 3.6 seconds from home plate to first base on a bunt. That number is mind-blowingly absurd. For context, scouts say four seconds flat for that same distance would give a player an 80-run tool (the highest possible) and Mason is have said to beat that mark by four tenths of a second.

Janvrin compiled 76 steals in his three-year career at Central Missouri in just 139 games, putting him on nearly an 89-steal pace if you were to extend that out to a full 162-game season. Not bad for a 14th Round draft pick. While at Central Missouri, Janvrin stole five bases in a game TWICE and broke the single season record for steals with 36. Janvrin wasn’t a slouch at the plate either, accumulating 112 hits in his Junior season, also good for most in a single season in Central Missouri history. Janvrin slashed an impressive .424/.469/.564 line in his final collegiate season and got a Second-Team All-American honor.

Janvrin spent time with the GCL Orioles last year, before moving up to Aberdeen. In his pro debut, Janvrin stole 17 bags and was able to hit over .300. His lack of extra base hits reflects poorly on his slugging percentage, nonetheless an impressive showing after a long summer where his college team made the NCAA Tournament. Janvrin is about to turn 22, so I could see him starting in either Delmarva or Frederick if the organization feels he is up to the task.

I don’t know if Janvrin will ever be a big leaguer, but he most certainly has the athletic pedigree and having at least one elite tool doesn’t hurt your chances. To me, the willingness of the Orioles to take fliers on guys like Janvrin and Toby Welk (Division III draftee) shows how much this new Front Office will think outside the box. Division I is undoubtedly where the majority of the talent lies, but that isn’t where all the talent lies. I root for the Mason Janvrin’s of the world and I hope one day he does get his shot. But I know this: Janvrin will be fascinating to watch no matter where he ends up.

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