It was the 27-year-old’s fourth year at the big-league level, but it was his first time appearing in more than 48 games (which was his previous high).
Mullins got a chance to prove himself over the course of an entire season in 2021, and he made the most of the opportunity.
On Thursday, his efforts were recognized, as he took home one of the biggest accolades of his young career so far: a Silver Slugger award.
Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, the only player to produce a 30-30 season in 2021, was one of the American League's Silver Slugger winners for outfielders. He's the first Baltimore Silver Slugger since Mark Trumbo in 2016.
— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) November 11, 2021
Mullins earned every bit of the honor, and it’s likely the first of many for him.
Mullins’ 2021 Season At A Glance
Let’s take a look at what Mullins accomplished in the 2021 campaign.
For starters, he appeared in 159 games, which speaks volumes about his ability to stay on the field.
Every MLB season is a grueling marathon, and it’s a great sign that Mullins was able to stay injury-free in 2021.
Over his 159 games, he posted some monster numbers.
He slashed .291/.360/.518, giving him an OPS of .878.
The outfielder also registered an OPS+ of 135 and wRC+ of 136, which are some elite marks.
Those numbers were aided by his 30 home runs, 37 doubles, and five triples.
And if that’s not enough for you, don’t worry — he also stole 30 bases in 38 attempts.
Defensively, Mullins was very serviceable, as he finished the year with a 0.4 defensive bWAR.
🚨 ROBBERY BY CEDRIC MULLINS 🚨
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 15, 2021
He got the job done on both sides of the ball.
Mullins is proving the doubters wrong.
He was selected in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, so he wasn’t exactly regarded as a potential superstar on draft night.
That seems to be where he’s headed, though — to superstar territory.
Moreover, Mullins likely heard a good amount of outside noise after his first three seasons at the MLB level were underwhelming.
He appeared in 115 games from 2018 to 2020, and the results were underwhelming.
He batted .225 with a .632 OPS and 72 OPS+ over that span.
Fortunately, the Orioles didn’t give up on him, and he silenced the naysayers in 2021.
It’s impossible to overstate how impressive his campaign was.
Still that dude. pic.twitter.com/sX6mMq2DQt
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 10, 2021
In fact, when the American League MVP results get revealed next week, don’t be surprised to see Mullins’ name pop up on ballots.
The youngster won’t win the award, but he definitely may have earned some votes thanks to his stellar campaign (and 5.7 bWAR).
Mullins gave Orioles fans a reason to tune in throughout the 2021 season.
It was another forgettable overall year for Baltimore, but this guy was the silver lining.
The organization is certainly hoping to return to contention in the near future, and the goal should be to do so with Mullins as a core piece.
He’s under club control until 2026, which is a nice window of time.
We’ll see if the Orioles are successful in their attempts to turn things around.
The club hasn’t made the postseason since 2016 and hasn’t won a World Series title since 1983.
That’s the seventh-longest active title drought in baseball.
It has been too long.