No surprises here! Cedric Mullins has been named the Most Valuable Oriole for the 2021 season! And the vote was appropriately unanimous!
It could argued that Mullins had maybe the most valuable season of any Oriole in the teams’ existence. Had this 2021 Orioles team been a contender, there is no doubt in my mind that Mullins wouldn’t be atop the MVP leader boards, alongside Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Shohei Ohtani.
Now, let’s not take away from the season Mullins had. Just two years ago, he was sent all the way back to Double-A Bowie after an abysmal 6-for-64 stint to open up the 2019 season. Now in 2021, Mullins had more three-hit games than he had hits in general that year.
Let’s take a look into what made No. 31 your 2021 Orioles MVP!
First off, it was such an easy fix that changed everything for the young center fielder. Initially a switch hitter, Mullins decided to ditch the right side and hit exclusively from the left. And boy, did that pay dividends. It worked so well, his change from number 3 to 31 this past season made it look like No. 31 Mullins was a completely different player; in hindsight, he was.
Right from the jump, Mullins’ season was off to a hot start. The year began with an 11-game hit streak, which also included five multi-hit games and one five-hit game. From there, things continued to roll onwards. Arguably, they got even better.
Throughout April, Mullins hit only four home runs, but he hit .337 for the month, along with a .932 OPS. Again, that’s with just four home runs.
As the season progressed, the consistent contact stayed put, while the power escalated. By the time Mullins was selected to his first All-Star Game as the starting center fielder for the A.L., he had hit 16 home runs and was slashing .314/.380/.541 with a .921 OPS. That is incredibly impressive from a guy who was just in Double-A two years prior.
His second half was just as good, with the numbers slightly behind. Although the second half average dropped a few points, his slugging stayed the same. This proved that the short center fielder was no longer the luck hitter we had seen in 2018 and 2019, but rather a true power hitter from the left side.
Throughout the 2021 season, Mullins accumulated many hit streaks. In total, he possessed a five-game or more hit streak six times, a 10 or more game streak three times and one time reached a 20-game hit streak. That 20-game streak still leads all of MLB in 2021.
Along with that contact ability and power surge, there was a showcase of fantastic speed and defense as well. Throughout the year, Mullins made a plethora of amazing plays in the field, including this super man catch against former teammate, Jonathan Villar.
In the field this season, Mullins had more outfield assists (7) than he had errors (6). His fielding percentage for the season currently sits at .985, and there’s no reason to think that changes in just five more games.
In terms of speed, we saw more from Mullins than anyone in Orioles history. Currently sitting at 30 steals, the numbers prove he was electric on the base paths. According to Fangraphs, Mullins’ base running runs above average is at 5.0. Again, zero would be your average.
As we all know, this mix of speed and power created something never before seen in the orange and black. Cedric Mullins, this season, became the first Oriole player to ever hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in one season. Not only that, but he is the only player to do so this year in Major League Baseball. Something like that is extremely special and is something we may not see again for a while in Baltimore. Unless, he does it again…
At season end, Mullins will finish with no less than a 5.6 WAR, currently good for 12th in the league. Now remember, that’s in the outfield, where only three outfielders rank better than him.
Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest seasons ever put together by a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Cedric Mullins’ 2021 campaign will be one long remembered, and this production will not end any time soon!
We at The Baltimore Battery want to congratulate Cedric on a fantastic 2021 season and for receiving this honor! Great job, Ceddy!
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