Trey Mancini entered the 2015 as a lightly-regarded right-handed first baseman in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He was not considered a top-10 prospect and was slated to begin the season in High-A as a 23-year-old. The Notre Dame product had done quite well over the first two professional seasons of his career, but nothing spectacular.
That all changed for Mancini over the course of the 2015 season. The career .298 hitter roared to a .341/.375/.563 line with 21 home runs and 89 RBIs across 136 games and two levels. For the Double-A Bowie Baysox, Mancini hit .359 with 45 extra-base hits in 84 games. This is the type of transcendent offensive performance that can vault a solid player into the ranks of true prospect. Mancini began tapping his power while continuing to make consistent, hard contact. He struck out only 93 times in 136 games.
Mancini is back at it again this season. Through 14 games at the Double-A level, he has already hit six home runs with an OPS of 1.252. Before his breakthrough season, Mancini was viewed as a hitter with a good ability to spray line drives. Now, he has begun truly tapping the power in his 6’4″ frame. He stands upright in the box and gets the bat head through the zone quickly. Mancini does appear to be sacrificing a little bit of contact for power so far this year, with 17 strikeouts, but that is a fair price to pay for the results.
In 98 games with the Baysox, all Mancini has done is slash .358/.406/.613. His defense is quietly improving as he works tirelessly at first base. A right-handed first baseman is always going to have a more difficult time with footwork around the bag, but Mancini is gradually improving in that regard. He plays the game hard and carries himself well on the field. Regardless of defensive prowess and intangibles, Mancini will find his way into a lineup if he continues slugging at a better than 1.000 OPS clip.
Mancini has to be taken seriously as a top-10 prospect, and with Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens, and Kevin Gausman already in the big leagues, Mancini could be viewed as a top-five prospect behind Hunter Harvey, Chance Sisco, and Jomar Reyes. That’s quite a climb for a player who was mostly unknown a year ago. The next step for Mancini should come soon. There is no reason he needs to continue scourging Double-A baseball. Joey Terdoslavich is a Quad-A player who is currently hitting below the Mendoza Line for Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles love stocking their Triple-A team with fringe-MLB guys like Terdoslavich, but sacrificing Mancini’s development for a player with very little value at the big-league level is not worth it. Christian Walker should get the first shot at coming up to the majors if a catastrophic injury hits the Orioles.
Trey Mancini has proven just about all there is to prove at the Double-A level. A promotion to Triple-A has to be coming soon. While his path to the big leagues is undoubtedly blocked by Chris Davis, there will always be a place on a roster for a player capable of hitting the way Mancini has the past two years. It’s perfectly acceptable not to buy in to Mancini after one hot season, but he’s now headed into year two of a major offensive breakthrough. Outside of the slam-dunk first round picks, the Orioles have very little to hang their hat on in recent years in terms of position-player development. Trey Mancini appears on his way to helping rewrite that narrative.