Even before Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins made his major league debut Aug. 10, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was warm and helpful to the 23-year-old.
Jones, the Orioles’ mainstay in center field from 2008 through this season, ceded the position to Mullins without hesitation. But the mutual admiration between the outfielders began well before Mullins arrived in Baltimore.
“Adam always [supported] new guys in camp and young guys coming in, but I think you could tell he had a special affection for [Mullins],” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “One, because he knew Cedric had a chance to be a good player. And believe me, he’s got a lot of bridges to cross here. But I think Adam … it’s not like he went out of his way. Adam does that to a lot of people.”
The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Mullins has been a nice spark for the Orioles during his five games with the big league club, going 8-for-20 with four extra-base hits. Mullins batted .288/.346/.465 with 11 home runs, 46 RBIs and 21 stolen bases with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk this season.
Showalter said Mullins’ knack for taking in advice and information is a good sign.
“Cedric’s a listener,” Showalter said. “He’s not always trying to say, ‘Yeah, that’s right Adam,’ but … he’s soaking it in.
“The good ones take it all in.”
Mullins was drafted by the Orioles in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Campbell University (N.C). He played the remainder of the 2015 season with Short-Season-A Aberdeen after signing, and he played the 2016 season at Low-A Delmarva. After spending time at big league spring training in 2017, Mullins moved up to Bowie. An injury-riddled 2017 season merely delayed his ascension through the system.
Jones has been impressed with Mullins’ poise since his call-up.
“He’s got a good group of veterans around him to keep him poised,” Jones said. “He’s in a good situation here, just knowing not really any expectations throughout the year except get some at-bats, get some seasoning, get some dirt in his spikes and have some fun. He’s just coming in, just playing baseball.”
Showalter likened Mullins to former Orioles Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop in that his defensive prowess will give him opportunities to prove his worth at the plate. Mullins’ speed in center field is a key aspect of his game.
Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini said Mullins has looked like a major league-caliber player since he arrived in Baltimore.
“He’s not scared at all,” Mancini said. “Maybe had a little bit of pregame jitters. I talked to him before [Mullins’ debut] the other day and I said, ‘Trust me, when the lights come on at 7:00 [p.m.], you’re going to be totally fine.’ And he went out here and got three hits that night and looked awesome. He’s a great kid, and it’s been really exciting to have him up here.”
Showalter said Mullins’ most impressive attribute thus far has been his mentality.
“I saw that calmness, [bench coach John Russell] and I were talking about it in spring training the first time he came over [to big league camp],” Showalter said. “He’s not a guy that has to try to see how easy he can make things look. There’s just a flow to his game. I think it’s one of those guys that when you do the analytics and stuff — his closing speed and all that other stuff –you might be surprised by how good he is compared to the way it looks to the naked eye.”
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