Cedric Mullins added another chapter to his breakout 2021 on Friday night when he hit his 30th homer of the season in the second inning against the Texas Rangers.
The 26-year-old is the first player in Orioles history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a single season.
Baltimore Orioles @Orioles
The first player in Orioles history to reach 30/30, and the first player in baseball to do it this year.<a href="https://twitter.com/cedmull30?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cedmull30</a> has put together one of the greatest seasons we've ever seen in Birdland. <a href="https://t.co/KRSIA6lNv2">pic.twitter.com/KRSIA6lNv2</a>
Even though the Orioles remain mired in a rebuild and entered Friday tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the worst record in Major League Baseball (49-104), Mullins has been an incredible bright spot for the franchise.
Mullins was named to the American League All-Star team earlier this year. He entered Friday ranked fourth in MLB with 30 stolen bases and is now tied for 19th in the AL with 30 homers.
Per FanGraphs, Mullins ranks fourth in the AL among position players with 5.6 wins above replacement.
In a season featuring several breakout performances, Mullins' has been one of the most unexpected. He was an unheralded 13th-round draft pick out of Campbell University in 2015.
MLB.com did rank Mullins as the fifth-best prospect in Baltimore's system prior to the 2017 season. He made his big league debut in 2018 but never showed this kind of potential. The North Carolina native hit .225/.290/.342 with seven homers and 10 stolen bases in 115 games from 2018-20.
There is a bright future in Baltimore with an improving farm system. Catcher Adley Rutschman, the top pick in the 2019 MLB draft, is the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball. Grayson Rodriguez is one of the top pitching prospects in the sport.
Assuming Rutschman and Rodriguez debut at some point next season, the Orioles will have a strong foundation with that duo and Mullins to build around.