As the All-Star break approaches, two AL teams, the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles are scorching hot, each with double-digit winning streaks. Wouldn’t you know, there’s an MLBbro at the helm of each of these winning streaks… JP Crawford and Cedric Mullins.
In the O’s winning streak, Mullins is batting .307, with one home run and six RBI. He has an on-base percentage of .386 and a slugging percentage of .487 during that span.
Crawford has a batting average of .292, hitting no home runs and five RBI. His on-base percentage during this stretch is .333, to go with a .366 slugging percentage. He has only struck out twice during the M’s 11-game winning streak.
Baltimore has been in a rebuild for at least the past four years, basically waving the white flag when they traded away their superstar third baseman Manny Machado back in 2018 to the LA Dodgers. Ever since the trade, there have been very limited bright spots for Orioles fans to look forward to. Mullins has been one.
Mullins was drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, and made his big league debut in 2018. In 2021, despite Baltimore tying for the worst record in Baseball, he had a career year, batting .291, with 30 home runs, 59 RBI, to go with an on-base percentage of .360 and a slugging percentage of .568. In addition to winning the Silver Slugger award, he ended up being the only Oriole to make the All-Star team in a year in which he became the first Oriole in franchise history to be a part of the 30-30 club, having stolen 30 bases in 2021 as well.
“I think he’s just getting better and better… how far he has come defensively from my first year in 2019 is unbelievable” said Brandon Hyde, the Orioles manager. Hyde wants fans to realize he is a great defensive player as well, emphasizing that he’s not just good with the bat, but an elite all-around player.
Crawford, who was a first round pick in 2013 by the Philadelphia Phillies, had made serious improvements to his game on the offensive side. In 2017 and 2018, his first two seasons in the pros, he batted .214 in each year. When he was dealt to the Mariners in 2019, the change of scenery changed everything. He has improved his batting average every single year, peaking in 2021, having a batting average of .273. He also has done well on the defensive side, as he ended up winning a Gold Glove in the 2020 campaign.
Crawford signed a 51 million dollar extension earlier this year, as he is seen as Seattle’s shortstop for the foreseeable future. “He’s (Crawford) an incredibly competitive player who has become an integral part of our team, both on the field and in the clubhouse” said general manager and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto.
The Mariners are currently in the AL Wildcard, with the Orioles only being one and a half games back of the final slot. The Mariners have not made the playoffs in 20 years, and the Orioles have been arguably the worst team in baseball of the last half decade. This season has huge potential to be stepping stones in the right direction for both franchises, and Crawford and Mullins will play huge roles to possibly write a new page in their respective franchises histories.