With Opening Day less than a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2018 Orioles every day as they try to bounce back from a disappointing last-place finish a year ago.
OF/1B Trey Mancini
Opening Day age: 26
Contract status: Under club control through the 2022 season
2017 stats: .293/.338/.488, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 65 R, 1 SB, 586 PA, 2.2 WAR (Baseball Reference)
Why to be impressed: Mancini hit his way to a third-place finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting after many wondered a year ago at this time whether he even had a future in Baltimore. While finishing in the top five on the club in most major offensive categories, Mancini played a very respectable left field at minus-one defensive runs saved despite having not played the outfield since his college days.
Why to be concerned: His .352 batting average on balls in play ranked in the top 15 in the majors and second on the club behind only Tim Beckham’s partial season, a clip that will be very difficult to sustain. In the second half of 2017, Mancini had a still-fortunate .324 BABIP while posting a .765 OPS and collecting 24 extra-base hits in 306 plate appearances, more ordinary numbers after a huge first half.
2018 outlook: One of the great stories of last season, Mancini will now need to show whether he will find another level or is settling into being the more average — but still productive — player he was after the break. His willingness to make adjustments, use all fields, and continue to work on his craft defensively makes him a good bet to at least further solidify himself as a starting-caliber player moving forward.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2018: .279/.322/.463, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 73 R, 2 SB, 638 PA, 2.0 WAR