Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is hitting the campaign trail.
He wants center fielder Cedric Mullins to receive votes for a Gold Glove in the American League.
His 0.2 dWAR per Baseball-Reference.com is an improvement over the -0.5 he posted in 2018.
“I’m going to go on record and say, for me, we need to start considering Cedric Mullins as a Gold Glover,” Hyde said today in his Zoom conference call with the media.
“He’s played Gold Glove defense since this whole entire season. I can’t remember a play he didn’t make. He’s made so many great plays. And not only that, but run-saving plays, big plays in big spots. He makes the tough play look easy.
“Some of those plays on balls over his head that he just glides to and catches easy, those are really difficult plays that a lot of guys don’t get to. I knew he was a good defender. Saw him a little bit last year, see him in spring training, but this has opened my eyes to where this is an elite defensive center fielder that should be in the Gold Glove consideration.”
Ryan Mountcastle is playing first base tonight for the first time in the majors, again allowing Hyde to use Austin Hays in left field, Mullins in center and DJ Stewart in right. Mountcastle was the designated hitter last night and had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs.
“We like to see a lot of guys get a lot of at-bats here going forward, and there’s four outfielders here that we’re trying to get consistent at-bats, and Ryan’s played the infield before,” Hyde said.
“He has been working out at first base a little bit here. I know he did at Bowie, as well, and in spring training with us, so he’s comfortable playing in the dirt. And I think it’s important also that guys have secondary positions, guys are able to play multiple places around the field. As you get better as a team, I think you’re always going to want to get guys in the lineup, so guys being able to play other spots is important.”
Mountcastle hasn’t seen the last of left field. This isn’t a position switch or a two-week audition to close out the season.
Though admitting that there’s “a little bit” of concern over moving Mountcastle at this early stage of his career, Hyde said the rookie will go back and forth.
“I’ve been really happy with the defense he’s played in left field,” Hyde said. “I think he’s done a real fine job since he’s been here, and credit goes to him and the work that him and the coaches did in Bowie because he has improved a lot in the outfield. And now we’d like to see him at first base a little bit, as well.
“I think if it was a brand-new position ... he’s played the infield his whole life, and so it’s not like he’s never been on the infield dirt and I’m just throwing a guy at first base. He’s been in the infield, has taken reps at first base, and so I’m ready to try it.”
Hanser Alberto is back in the lineup after resting last night. It wasn’t a health issue.
“That was a routine day off that I’ve been looking to give him the past 10 days,” Hyde said.
“He keeps pacing back and forth in front of me in the dugout all the time. I don’t think he can sit still.”
The Orioles took their team photo this afternoon in right field.