It's only right that we give Cedric Mullins his props for his play this season. It was announced on Sunday that he will be a reserve in the All Star game next week, but theres a legit chance he ends up starting due to the injury to Mike Trout. The fact that he's not only an All Star, but the fact that he may start is insane considering where he was two seasons ago. 2019 he was AWFUL, and I mean AWFUL. That was supposed to be the season he took over the center field spot that Adam Jones had held for almost a decade. What did he do when he got handed the baton? The then switch-hitter hit .094 with 6 hits in 64 at-bats in 22 games and was sent down. Not just sent down to AAA to get his confidence up, they sent him all the way down to AA. We thought he was the future at the beginning of the season and in the blink of an eye he was a forgotten man down in the minors. I think most Orioles fans had given up on him because there were a ton of other outfield prospects waiting in the wings. Boy were we wrong.
He had a decent season in 2020, nothing spectacular and nothing really that showed he'd break out in 2021, but when this season started he took off like a rocket. He's been one of the best outfielders in all of baseball over the course of 2021 and isn't slowing down. He's second among all outfielders in hits with 101, third among outfielders in doubles with 22, has 15 home runs, 32 RBIs, 32 walks, 15 steals, the third highest averaging among outfielders at .318, an OBP of .385, is 5th among outfielders in slugging % at .547, and the fourth highest OPS at .932. Not to mention he's filthy with the glove in center. It's not hyperbole when I say he's one of the best outfielders.
The fact that he was sent down not one level but two not that long ago and now he's going to be making his first ever All Star appearance says a lot about who he is as a person and a player. He easily could have felt bad for himself, sat down there in Bowie and thought his baseball career was over because of his demotion but he didn't. He worked his ass off, gave up switch hitting and now is a beast. The fact that he made the decision this spring to completely stop switch hitting and only hit from the left side has changed everything. I couldn't imagine not facing a lefty from the left side for years and then one week deciding to make the switch. I wish he gave it up sooner. Not an easy transition to make but he's been awesome after the switch. Don't get it twisted either, he's not making the All Star team because MLB has that dumb rule where every team needs one representative, he's making it because he deserves to be there. In a year where the Orioles don't have much to brag about, Cedric Mullins is for sure one of them.