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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

The Case for Coby Mayo

Updated: Mar 27

Will MLB’s No. 30 prospect make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster?

*Cover Photo: John Topoleski

At Orioles camp, the comradery that has been within the prospect pool has been baseball’s top prospect Jackson Holliday and his audition to be penciled into Brandon Hyde’s Opening Day lineup card. People have also kept a close eye on the battle between two friends, Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad, and which top prospect outfielder will be the Orioles’ fourth outfielder.

However, it is about time that we begin discussing the case for another talented young man, someone that I have been a fan of ever since he was drafted, a player trying to make his name known at Orioles Spring Training right now.

His name is Coby Mayo.

No. 30 prospect Coby Mayo is making himself known at camp this spring. Photo: John Topoleski

According to MLB Pipeline, the 22-year-old Floridian is ranked as the Orioles’ 4th best prospect and baseball’s 30th best prospect, just two slots ahead of Kjerstad. There is no sugar coding that Mayo is playing like a top prospect, and he is raising some eyebrows in the front office and within the buzzing fanbase.

His performance so far this season has increased my interest in seeing him on the Orioles’ Opening Day roster. As I chit chat with other Orioles fans, they have expressed the same feelings. Let’s evaluate Coby Mayo, the Spring Training that he has had so far, and what the outcome could be for the prospect infielder.

2023: A Breakout

For starters, Mayo had an incredible 2023 season. Between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A

Norfolk, the right-handed hitter hit .290 (a 39 point increase from 2022) with a .974 OPS, 29 home runs, 45 doubles, and 99 RBIs.  His 2023 accolades include winning the Eastern League (Double-A) MVP and helping the Tides win the Triple-A championship.

For size comparison, Mayo is No. 86, and I (5'6.5") am next to him in the Baysox jersey. He is one big guy.

Mayo has always been able to hit. He can do everything offensively from taking a pitch to the opposite field for a line drive, getting on base with a walk, or smashing a moonshot. Let me say that this dude has big time power. A lot of his power derives from the fact that he is HUGE. Take a look at him in person or stand next to him, and you will notice that he is absolutely massive. He stands at 6’5” and 230 lbs., carrying a ton of muscle that aids a very powerful, very aggressive yet very controlled swing.

Here is a home run that he hit last summer against the Somerset Patriots (Yankees’ Double-A). He turned on 100 MPH and sent it to the deepest gap at Prince George’s Stadium. That ball still hasn’t landed, and you can see me in the bottom left corner of the screen acting like an uncontrollable child at his first baseball game.

Spring Training 2024

His offense has not slowed down even with a winter’s worth of an offseason, as he has been hitting very well this spring. In his third Spring Training camp lifetime, Mayo has seen a ton of action, appearing in 15 games with 32 at-bats. He is a .313 hitter in those 15 games with 9 RBIs, 5 doubles, and an amazing .984 OPS. His lone home run of the spring was launched off an 86 MPH slider from Braves’ lefty Aaron Bummer completely out of the stadium. I mean, he obliterated the ball.

Mayo has handled big league pitching very well and if you were going off just an evaluation based on offense, then he is ready.

Defensive Improvements

In Mayo’s case, it does not stop with offense. He needs to be a solid defender as well.

The only thing that the Orioles have looked to fix in Mayo in recent years is his defense. Mayo is a third baseman by trade who was trained to play some first base in recent years. His journey has come with some defensive growing pains as even I have noticed while watching him throughout his Minor League career. He sports just a .908 fielding percentage at the hot corner in the minors with 48 errors.

The Orioles have noticed a significant improvement in Coby Mayo's defense. Photo: John Topoleski

However, the Orioles have noticed great things in Mayo’s defense during camp this spring. The work that he has invested in his defensive craft has paid off so far as in 10 games at third base (44 innings), he has 9 assists and not a single error. Third base coach Tony Mansolino in particular has taken note of Mayo’s improved defense, though he knows that Mayo cannot stop where he is currently at with the glove.

“Coby is on his way,” Mansolino told MASN’s Roch Kubatko. “He’s come a long way. We have a lot more faith and confidence in his ability than we had in the past, and that’s a credit to him and it’s a credit to the Minor League staff to get him to this point. We’re thrilled, but we haveto keep building on it.” Mansolino adds that one of the key things that they changed with Mayo was his arm slot on throws across the diamond.”

What’s Next?

Mayo’s red hot bat and tremendously improved defense has put him in the running for a roster spot on Opening Day, and fans are slowly but surely smiling upon the thought of seeing him run down the orange carpet on March 28. The only issue is where he exactly fits in the infield and in the lineup.

He does not need to worry about the middle infield at all, as he will most likely never see action there. Plus, that is Gunnar Henderson and (possibly) Jackson Holliday territory. However, he will have to convince GM Mike Elias that he fits in better at third base than Jordan Westburg, who had himself a very nice cup of coffee at the big leagues last summer both offensively and defensively. Mayo can play first base, but the current back-and-forth operation of the Ryans, Mountcastle (to face lefties) and O’Hearn (to face righties), seems to work really well right now. It is hard to break that duo up unless one of them goes in a costly and frustrating slump. Then, perhaps Mayo breaks in.

If the Orioles plan on platooning Mayo at either third, first, or even as a designated hitter (which is highly possible), then I would love to see him on the Opening Day roster and in the lineup. If they are going to option him to Triple-A, then it should be just to get his bat going until an injury occurs or until the Orioles demote someone else who isn’t showing up. I have no interest in seeing a promising, talented gift in Mayo ride the Orioles’ bench. He won’t develop at all by doing that. He will develop with consistent at-bats, MiLB or MLB, and with on-field experience around the game’s veterans and top stars.

In the end, Mayo is a masher with the bat and he is capable of hitting big league pitching. I think that he is ready to see regular MLB at-bats and I believe he deserves a shot at the big leagues, but only if he is getting consistent MLB at-bats. If he is going to start in Norfolk, then I hope that he is not there long because in my opinion, through all of the growing and improving that I have seen Mayo do in the minors, he is MLB ready. He just does not have the clearest, easiest path to the show.

What are your thoughts on the Coby Mayo situation? Find my contact information in the contacts tab, and reach out to me so we can chat some Coby Mayo and Orioles baseball!

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