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Cedric Mullins 2021 Year-in-Review

Cedric Mullins broke out and was one of the biggest surprises in fantasy baseball in 2021.

He arguably was the biggest steal in 2021 drafts with an ADP of 408th overall on average in NFBC Leagues or the best pickup off the waiver wire. The 27-year-old rewarded fantasy managers who drafted him late or added him in free agency with a 30/30 campaign.

Let's review his final stats from 2021 and evaluate his season from a fantasy perspective.

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The Breakout Campaign

Let's start by checking his batting line across the major roto categories.

2021: .291/.360/.518, 91 R, 59 RBI, 30 HR, 30 SB

Mullins wasn't on the radar in 2021 fantasy drafts after slashing .271/.315/.407 with three home runs, 12 RBI, 16 runs, and seven stolen bases over 48 games in the 2020 shortened campaign. He started the 2021 season batting leadoff for the Orioles and caught the attention of fantasy managers after his scorching start in April when he hit .448 with a homer and a stolen base over seven contests, including a game in which he went 5-for-5 with three doubles and three runs scored. The Orioles outfielder was a hot waiver wire pickup and never let up the rest of the season.

Mullins became the first player in Orioles history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases and was the only 30/30 member in 2021. He posted a .314 batting average in the first half and tailed off a little bit after the All-Star break by hitting .261 in the second half. His power was unexpected, but the speed has always been there. His Statcast data below suggest he's closer to the .260 hitter fantasy managers witnessed in the second half.

Mullins was a switch hitter before the start of the season; he adjusted to bat primarily left-handed in 2021, which is his natural side. "It was getting difficult to try and create two different swings," Mullins said in an interview with The Athletic's Dan Connolly. "I know my left side is my natural side, so trying to develop my right-handed swing at the highest level was challenging. And I tried to do the best I could to see if it could develop quicker. It just didn't work out that way. So, I feel like going left-on-left was the best decision."

As you can see, the decision to hit left-handed for the majority of his at-bats paid off last year as he finished ninth in the American League MVP Voting, which shows how incredible his season was to finish in the MVP voting for a player on a 100-loss team.

 

What To Expect From Mullins In 2022

Coming off a top-10 season, can Mullins repeat or come close to his 2021 numbers? Fantasy managers should expect a 20/30 season with a .270 batting average and 110 wRC+ in 2022. He is being selected within the first three rounds in the latest mocks and his draft price will be a hot topic during the fantasy baseball offseason. Managers are either going to avoid or go all-in on selecting Mullins in the early rounds.

Either way, you look at it, the underlying stats show Mullins won't go the route of Chumbawamba and be a one-hit-wonder. "Tubthumping" was a popular hit in the mid-1990s for anyone born after 2000 reading this article. The Orioles star outfielder might not finish in the top-10 overall this year, but he should finish as a top-10 outfielder and produce for fantasy managers in 2022.



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