The 2021 season hasn’t gone particularly well for the Baltimore Orioles from a wins-and-losses perspective.
However, the team has uncovered some extremely exciting rising stars throughout the campaign.
Three players in particular stand out as potential cornerstones for Baltimore going forward.
Today, we’re going to give those players some attention.
Let’s get started.
3. Trey Mancini
Trey Mancini’s return from cancer has been one of the best stories in baseball in 2021, and it becomes even more remarkable when you consider the sort of season the 29-year-old is having.
Mancini is batting .258 with a .790 OPS, 115 OPS+, and 116 wRC+.
He has homered 19 times, doubled 25 times, and tripled once.
Those are all impressive marks, and he looks capable of being a solid bat in this Baltimore lineup in 2022.
There is one thing to keep in mind, though: His current contract only runs through the 2022 season.
If the Orioles want to keep him around beyond next year, they are going to need to work out a new deal with him.
2. John Means
John Means has been the only bright spot in an otherwise miserable Orioles rotation this season.
He gave Baltimore fans an unforgettable night earlier in this year when he tossed a dominant no-hitter on May 5, and with the way he’s throwing the ball, he might make more history before he calls it quits many years down the road.
An Orioles super fan is currently in the hospital with COVID-19
He sent his son a video of him celebrating John Means tossing Baltimore’s first individual no-hitter since 1969 🙏 @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 6, 2021
Means has a 2.79 ERA, 160 ERA+, and 0.92 WHIP over 16 starts this season.
He has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his starts, and four of his outings have been scoreless.
The lefty also has a 3.7 WAR on the year.
He’s a bonafide ace.
Means’ success this season shouldn’t come as a total surprise.
He was named an All-Star in 2019 as a rookie, and he finished the year with an impressive 3.60 ERA.
It will be interesting to what the 28-year-old’s next act will be.
1. Cedric Mullins
The Orioles may have a future MVP in Cedric Mullins.
The 26-year-old has come out of absolutely nowhere this season, and he looks like a franchise player for Baltimore.
He’s batting .320 with a .936 OPS this season, and he leads the league in hits with 133.
He has homered 20 times, doubled 28 times, and tripled four times.
He has an outstanding 155 OPS+ and an elite WAR of 4.5 (which puts him on pace for a 6.8 mark by the end of the year).
lol Cedric Mullins can't be stopped pic.twitter.com/XM9WDQpWp3
— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) August 8, 2021
Amazingly, he has also swiped 21 bags.
There’s nothing this guy can’t do, and he is under club control until 2026.
The Orioles have something really special here, and they need to do everything they can to build a contending team around the youngster.
It remains to be seen when the Orioles will be contenders again.
The 2021 season will be the team’s fifth consecutive year without a playoff bid.
Having said that, the future looks very bright.
Between some of the talent we talked about in this article and some of the future stars that Baltimore is developing in its highly-touted farm system, there are undoubtedly better days ahead.
In the meantime, patience is key for Orioles fans.NEXT: Trey Mancini Greatly Exceeding Expectations In 2021