Matt Blood on Coby Mayo: "He's ahead of schedule"

Coby Mayo celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, which was a nice reminder that another Orioles prospect played at the Double-A level this summer before his legal drinking age.

Also a necessary reminder when evaluating Mayo’s season.

Back spasms forced Mayo onto the injured list and cost him about a month after he appeared in only three games with the Bowie Baysox. Reports that he was day-to-day proved inaccurate.

He was facing older and unfamiliar pitchers in a new setting who learned that challenging him with fastballs was a bad idea. That’s 100 percent true.

Drafted in the fourth round in 2020 and given an over-slot $1.75 million bonus, Mayo batted a combined .247/.326/.456 with 20 doubles, two triples, 19 home runs, 69 RBIs, 40 walks and 114 strikeouts in 439 plate appearances after beginning the season at High-A Aberdeen. ranks him as the No. 7 prospect in the organization.

It's quite the commentary on the state of the farm system that Mayo tends to get overlooked while everyone gushes over Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, Kyle Stowers, Colton Cowser, Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, Heston Kjerstad, first-overall pick Jackson Holliday and others. In past pre-resurgence years, he might be the organization’s top prospect with his plus raw power and arm.

“For a player his age - he’s very young - to be in Double-A and competing in Double-A the way that he did, he’s doing great,” director of player development Matt Blood said during a Winter Meetings interview with "MASN All Access."

“He’s ahead of schedule, to be honest. He’s got some really exciting tools, and I think next year will be a pretty important year for him.”

Baseball America’s projected 2026 lineup, more of a fun exercise than anything to be taken seriously, considering how future drafts and roster moves likely will impact it, has Mayo serving as the designated hitter while Henderson plays third base and Ryan Mountcastle remains at first. Mayo’s size – he’s listed at 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds – leads some scouts and executives to predict a move across the infield from third to first, or into left field.

The crowd doesn’t get any thinner in the outfield. The 2026 lineup has Cedric Mullins in left, Cowser in center and Stowers in right. No mention of Kjerstad, the second-overall pick in 2020 who was named the Arizona Fall League’s Most Valuable Player.

Right field was supposed to belong to Kjerstad, as we were told after his selection. This also is an important year for Stowers, who made his major league debut this summer and will be competing for a job in spring training.

Here’s more from Blood on specific prospects:

Westburg, the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year
“We think he’s getting close. He did have a great year of learning, I would say. He had some ups and downs, but throughout the entire season he put together a nice body of work, and I think he’s showing his game coming sort of well-rounded. He can hit, he’s got power, he can play on the infield just about anywhere you want him to. So, for him, it’s just about continuing to polish some of his skills and be ready for whenever is name is called.”

“We’ve always felt Joey is a little underrated. As everybody knows, he’s a fantastic defender and he’s put a lot of work in on the offensive side. He had an injury a couple years ago that slowed him down, but this year he really made some strides, especially in the second half of the season. And as the bat continues in the trajectory that it’s showing, he could be a very exciting player.”

Left-hander Drew Rom
“He’s got a lot of weapons and he likes to use them, and I think that’s going to serve him well next season as he gets more time in Triple-A and then whenever his name is called in the major leagues. He’s always going to have to pitch and use his weapons and deception. And hopefully, he’s a very productive major leaguer.”

On whether he imagined Henderson’s debut coming this year
“He said he was going to be, and you never doubt him. He works incredibly hard, as hard as anyone, and he went right after it. And I can’t say that I was surprised. I wouldn’t have bet on it, but I wouldn’t have bet against it, if you know what I mean. So, we’re very happy for him, and hopefully, he continues progressing, because he’s so young and so talented and has a very bright future.”

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