How did Orioles centerfielder Cedric Mullins earn his hardware this season?
On Thursday night, MLB Network hosted an award show revealing the winners of this year’s crop of Silver Slugger Awards. Among the winners was Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Cedric Mullins, taking home his first career Silver Slugger Award. The honor made Mullins the 13th different player in franchise history to win the award and the first since Mark Trumbo in 2016.
Mullins played at a level in 2021 that few people could have anticipated coming into the season. In 115 games combined across his previous three seasons, Mullins slashed just .225/.290/.342 with seven home runs. However, Mullins made a change to his hitting profile during Spring Training this past March that has proven to be the catalyst to his incredible 2021 campaign.
Mullins abandoned switch-hitting for the first time in his Major League career, deciding to take his at-bats exclusively from the left side of the plate. As a result, Mullins improved his hitting prowess and managed to slash .291/.360/.518 over 675 plate appearances. The 27-year-old launched 30 home runs and swiped 30 bases to go along with his impressive slash line, becoming the only player in Baltimore Orioles history admitted into the illustrious 30/30 club.
Mullins’ season-long WAR total was second-highest among all American League outfielders, trailing only New York Yankees’ star Aaron Judge. Mullins was one of just 19 hitters across Major League Baseball to accrue at least five points of WAR in 2021.
The O’s outfielder saw career-best marks nearly across the board, especially in his rate stats. The uptick in figures such as barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and strikeout rate tells the story of a hitter who found a groove and never seemed to lose it.
Now with a Silver Slugger award and an All-Star Game appearance to his credit, Cedric Mullins becomes one of the more decorated members of the Orioles’ current roster. Fans coming out to Oriole Park at Camden Yards next season to celebrate the ballpark’s 30-year anniversary will be happy to see a star of their own take the field.