With Opening Day just days away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
Hyun Soo Kim
1B/OF Trey Mancini
Opening Day age: 25
Contract status: Under club control through the 2022 season
2016 stats: .357/.400/1.071, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 15 PA
Why to be impressed: Mancini gave the Orioles a much-needed spark last September as he homered three times in 10 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, continuing a strength he’d shown over the last two years in the minors. He followed that success this spring with three homers and an impressive .979 OPS in the Grapefruit League while showing promise in his transition to the outfield.
Why to be concerned: The former eighth-round pick from Notre Dame has little else to prove at the plate in the minors after a solid 2016 season at Triple-A Norfolk, but a bench role isn’t what’s best for his development as an outfielder. If he is going to start against left-handed pitching, his offense will have to be very strong to offset the potential defensive issues with either him or Mark Trumbo playing right field.
2017 outlook: It all but appeared certain that Mancini would be blocked after the Orioles re-signed Trumbo to a three-year deal in January, but the early reviews have been positive in his move to the outfield. With the Orioles opening the year with only three starting pitchers because of off-days, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in Norfolk in the near future to play the outfield on a daily basis.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .271/.321/.432, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 26 R, 1 SB, 196 PA