How the Orioles landed ‘can’t-miss prospect’ Coby Mayo with an organization-wide effort – Orange County Register

A day after Adley Rutschman’s debut introduced an electrical energy to Camden Yards, Orioles supervisor Brandon Hyde stated it reminded him of the power he noticed at Wrigley Field as an assistant coach when the Chicago Cubs first known as up eventual National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Kris Bryant. It wasn’t the primary time a prospect who may play a key function in Baltimore’s future has drawn a comparability to Bryant.

In November 2019, Geraldo Cabrera, the Orioles’ Latin American supervisor, and Rafael Belén, one of many group’s scouts centered on the area, attended a match in Puerto Rico by way of the International Prospect League. With a crew of Florida amateurs within the area, they have been instructed to maintain an eye fixed out for any participant who is perhaps value concentrating on within the following summer time’s draft.

They noticed a participant with a powerful construct and energy potential regardless of a swing present process some tweaks. They noticed a participant with a robust arm with the power to stay at third base. They noticed a participant who Baltimore ultimately took within the 2020 MLB draft’s fourth spherical, one who’s tied for the Orioles’ farm system lead in residence runs this season and now ranks as a top-five prospect within the group.

They noticed Coby Mayo.

“Best player at the event,” Cabrera wrote then in a scouting report. “This kid has a tremendous body and ceiling. Looks like big leaguer Kris Bryant. Plus raw power. … I love this guy.”

Belén added that he was a “can’t-miss prospect.”

“When they’re so high on a guy like that,” Orioles senior director of worldwide scouting Koby Perez stated, “if it would be an international guy, like, I’m on the next flight down, you know what I mean?”

Instead, Perez despatched an electronic mail to Brad Ciolek, who oversees the beginner draft for the Orioles, to let him know the way impressed Cabrera and Belén have been with Mayo. Baltimore was already conscious and scouting him, however including the enter of the worldwide scouts was “like an extra feather in our cap,” stated Ciolek, Baltimore’s director of draft operations.

That match in Puerto Rico was a part of an wide-ranging effort that introduced Mayo to the Orioles. The 20-year-old is now at High-A Aberdeen, getting into Wednesday as certainly one of solely three minor leaguers that age or youthful with double-digit residence runs.

“The evaluation process for him,” Ciolek stated, “touched every corner of our organization.”

‘Big goal in mind’

Mayo, then a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, attended the Puerto Rico match as a result of his eventual agent advised it could be an excellent place to indicate off his reworked stance and swing.

After serving as Rutschman’s signing scout out of the Northwest, Brandon Verley grew to become the Orioles’ Florida-based scout, with Mayo on a brief checklist of highschool gamers he inherited that additionally included outfielders Zac Veen, who went ninth general within the 2020 draft, and Dylan Crews, a projected high choose in 2023 after attending LSU. Mayo had discovered success regardless of features of his offensive method that Verley stated “weren’t conventional.” His stance was imbalanced, with the right-handed hitter beginning his swing leaning closely on his again facet. In enhancing that, he additionally made tweaks to his preliminary hand load and stride.

“This whole new stance was getting comfortable, and it was kind of just to go show people, like, I can still hit with anything,” Mayo stated of taking part in in Puerto Rico. “People from the Orioles have been there and noticed me there, which is possibly a cause why I’m right here at the moment.

“You never know who’s watching.”

The Orioles watched Mayo usually in his senior season, which was minimize quick due to the coronavirus pandemic. Evaluations of his on-field efficiency shifted to Zoom calls to scout his off-field make-up.

Ciolek recalled how proud Mayo was of his swing changes, with video proven to members of Baltimore’s participant improvement employees main them to imagine Mayo was a participant who might be profitable of their program. The crew’s analysts, too, believed his bat velocity and energy numbers matched these of a participant they need to goal. Verley remembered the strongest impression Mayo left with him was a declaration made repeatedly over cellphone and Zoom calls.

“His goal was, ‘I want to be a big leaguer as soon as I can, and I’m going to do everything in my power to get myself there as fast as I can,’” Verley stated. “He made a remark like, ‘I want to be there at 21.’

“He’s that driven and he was that focused as a high school kid about what he wanted to do and what he wanted to accomplish.”

Two years later, Mayo nonetheless feels that method.

“The earlier you get to the big leagues is more of an opportunity,” Mayo stated. “At a young age, it’s a better experience. You come out of college at 21, then you’ve got to start this process. But I think if you can get there by 21, you’re years ahead of everybody. That’d be the big goal in mind, but it comes with a lot of hard work and competing at the highest level you can.”

‘The right direction’

Verley stated he knew of groups that noticed Mayo as a sixth- or seventh-round expertise, citing considerations about his earlier swing. But because the 2020 draft and its 5 rounds started, Ciolek was involved that one other crew would possibly goal him increased than Baltimore was keen to.

They used their first 4 picks on faculty place gamers, creating sufficient monetary flexibility for themselves to shut the draft with Mayo and Iowa highschool pitcher Carter Baumler, who delivered three scoreless innings for Low-A Delmarva on Wednesday in his skilled debut coming off Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgical procedure. The Orioles signed Mayo for an above-slot $1.75 million, getting him to forego his dedication the University of Florida, his dream college.

“We were in on not only his ability to perform with him doing some things mechanically undesirable, but just the way that he talked about his process and worked at it and what his peers and his coaches around him said about him,” Verley stated. “It just gave us the comfort or the ammo or the belief that, ‘Listen, this kid’s gonna continue to make adjustments and get to where he needs to get to.’”

Mayo missed the beginning of 2021 with a knee harm, then shined within the Florida Complex League and for Delmarva with 9 residence runs and a batting line of .319/.426/.555, good for a .981 OPS. Ciolek stated early discussions with Mayo, listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 kilos, included his need to show his capability to stay at third base.

“He’s answered those doubters to this point, because he moves exceptionally well for a bigger kid and he’s gotten a lot stronger,” Ciolek stated. “Coby checked all those boxes for us. … The ceiling is immensely high for him.”

He entered the season ranked tenth among the many group’s prospects, in line with Baseball America. Several shops positioned him increased, together with ESPN, which had him among the many sport’s high 100 prospects.

In a latest replace, Baseball America lifted Mayo as much as No. 5 in Baltimore. With Rutschman within the majors, he received’t be the Orioles’ high prospect for much longer. Mayo is a possible successor.

Rutschman’s first sport of the season got here in a rehab project with Aberdeen. Mayo considerably stole the highlight from the highest prospect within the sport, homering twice.

“He’s got extremely quick hands,” Rutschman, the No. 1 general choose in 2019, stated that evening. “Two bombs, I think that speaks for itself right there. But obviously a very impressive young player.”

Mayo credit how a lot he’s grown prior to now 12 months to the power to get each day at-bats as an expert, one thing that wouldn’t essentially have been the case had he gone to varsity. He famous the Orioles’ need for gamers to problem themselves to enhance.

“Thinking back to a year from now, injured, it’s like night and day,” Mayo stated. “It actually is. Like, the individual I’m now, I feel within the final 12 months, the at-bats I’ve gotten, over 300 at-bats within the professional ball degree by way of FCL and Low-A and High-A, I feel it’s been superior to see the enhancements, and I feel there’s much more.

“In a year, you can come back and talk to me, and there’s gonna be even more improvements.”

Reminded {that a} 12 months from now he’ll be 21 — the age he instructed Verley he wished to be within the majors — Mayo chuckled.

“If I keep working and keep developing and getting better at the things I need to get better at,” Mayo stated, “if those things happen, the right people will lead me in the right direction.”

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