Hyde: Mullins “was a shining moment for us in our organization”

Sometimes you get leftovers for breakfast, sometimes you get the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster.

It’s a good way to manage your carbs.

The Brandon Hyde virtual Winter Meetings video conference call last Monday morning - or “Zoom” to save keystrokes - covered a wide range of topics. A few of them also interested the national media that joined in, including how the Orioles handled COVID-19 conditions and whether Hyde is confident in the implementation of a full spring training and season in 2021.

Others would have been more appropriate in a modest September beat writer session, but that’s how you stretch an interview over 25 minutes.

Cedric Mullins is part of a swollen outfield mix that’s expected at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. He hopes to stay off the fringes and work a full major league season.

He could be the toast of the town, considering his emergence this summer and prior prospect status. The only relation to crumbs is that I’m using quotes from a week ago.

Mullins took a giant leap forward in 2020, to the point where Austin Hays could be shifting to an outfield corner, at least on occasion, rather than get full-time work in center.

Thumbnail image for mullins-swings-triple-white-sidebar.jpgLet’s take another dive into Mullins’ statistical successes:

* He led the Orioles with a 1.4 WAR per STATS and tied for fourth at 0.6 according to FanGraphs.com. He recorded five Outs Above Average, tied for second-most in the majors by an outfielder, according to Statcast. His nine bunt hits led the majors.

* You’d still win a few bar bets, hopefully while social distancing, with the knowledge that Mullins’ 427-foot home run on Sept. 4 against the Yankees was the longest hit by an Oriole this season.

* He was 8-for-17 (.471) in the first inning and went 37-for-127 (.291) in 39 games after being recalled from the alternate camp site on Aug. 15. He was 1-for-13 in nine games prior to his stint at Bowie, where instruction in a less-pressurized environment turned around his season and maybe his career.

* He led the team with seven stolen bases, proving again that his speed isn’t a wasted tool.

* His third career outfield assist on Aug. 1 against the Rays produced the first double play to start an inning in major league history, due to the new rules in extras that placed a runner on second base.

“Cedric came a long way this last year and what it was was just a lot of confidence,” Hyde said.

“He just started playing with confidence, he started playing with a chip on his shoulder a little bit. It was not the Cedric that I saw the year before, as well as spring training. I started seeing signs of Cedric really making some improvements. I liked some swing adjustments that he made in spring training, and then when he got an opportunity to play during the season, he waited his turn, continued to work hard and got his chance, and he took advantage of the opportunity by just really playing the game aggressive.

“And I love the bunt game that he has. He can drop a bunt down for a single almost any single time. That gives you confidence, also. But the ability to lay a bunt down for a single and then go deep is rare and he has that, along with Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field. A real special ability to see the baseball off the bat and get unbelievable jumps night in and night out.

“I thought he made huge strides. He was a shining moment for us in our organization.”

Sounds like Mullins would have to play his way off the roster in camp. The Orioles aren’t pointing him toward the minor league side.

Their aim is the outfield.

There are just too many ways that he can impact a game.

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