Prospect expert thinks Coby Mayo will force Orioles veteran out of position soon

The Orioles have two power-hitting studs that could play first base right now, so which one should get the job?
Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates / Christopher Pasatieri/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Whenever a team has the logjam of talent like the Baltimore Orioles have, it is fair to wonder which players will ultimately win out at each position. They can't play all of these guys and, all things considered, the goal for everyone should be for the Orioles to field the best roster possible. That means picking the best long-term fits and installing them, then using the guys who don't quite make the cut to fill other positions or make trades using them as capital.

One such position that is going to require some thought is first base. Currently, Ryan Mountcastle is holding things down at first, and he is an interesting case. His first 3.5 seasons with the Orioles yielded some middling results, with a .775 OPS and solid, if unexciting, power numbers. However, it sure seems like Mountcastle figured something out late last season and is carrying that over in 2024, as he is currently slashing .317/.375/.492. That isn't exactly the profile of a guy that you want to try and replace.

That said, one prospect expert for MiLB and all around good guy Sam Dykstra seems to think that one of the Orioles' best hitting prospects, Coby Mayo, could supplant Mountcastle at first in short order.

Is there a way for Coby Mayo and Ryan Mountcastle to co-exist in the same Orioles lineup?

For Mayo to even get into this conversation, it required a truly special season in 2023. The Orioles' No. 3 prospect put up a .290/.410/.563 slash line in 2023 with 29 homers last year to put himself firmly in the conversation for a big league call-up this season. He has shown no sign of slowing down in 2024, either, as he currently has an even better 1.025 OPS in his 17 games this year.

There are a few potential problems with calling up Mayo, though. One is that he is striking out 30.9% of the time in 2024, which isn't great, but also isn't super unusual for a power hitter early in the season. The bigger problem, though, is where he would play, which is where Mountcastle's presence comes in. Mayo was a third baseman by trade, but he isn't a particularly good defender there, which leaves first base and DH as his best options at the moment. With so many other position players at different positions potentially needing time at DH to find playing time in the big leagues, first base could be ideal if, again, Mountcastle wasn't raking right now.

The solution may actually be pretty straightforward, although it wouldn't come without some pain. If the Orioles were to play one of the two at first (probably Mayo, but it is close) and the other at DH, Baltimore could fit both guys in the lineup, then try to make some changes in the outfield to accommodate other guys. That could be bad news for guys like Anthony Santander and Austin Hays, but, again...you can't keep everybody, and these are the types of problems that every team wishes they could have.

More Orioles News from Birds Watcher

manual