Orioles’ Coby Mayo Learns To Adapt To Advanced Pitchers


Even in an Orioles system that has become a pipeline of young hitting talent, Coby Mayo’s season stood out.

The 21-year-old third baseman led the organization with 29 home runs while driving in 99 runs between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. More importantly, he quickly adjusted to upper-level pitching at Norfolk without losing a sense of who he was as a hitter.

“He’s a guy who can make very rapid adjustments, oftentimes in the middle of a game, which is really, really neat,” Norfolk hitting coach Brink Ambler said. “It’s been great to see him come to this level and, even though he’s a lot younger than a lot of these guys, he’s become a definite leader on the team.”

That team, during Mayo’s time there featured No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Holliday plus Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Joey Ortiz and Connor Norby, all of whom ranked as Top 100 Prospects at some point in 2023.

But few produced like Mayo did. 

His .974 OPS was the highest of any full-season Orioles prospect, and he produced while improving the swing-decision metrics the Orioles prize.

He improved his walk rate from 9% in 2022 to 15% this season. He struck out 26% of the time a season ago. This year he cut his strikeout rate to 24%, while hitting the ball in the air more.

At Triple-A, he had a 90th percentile exit velocity of about 109 mph, with just a 10% swinging-strike rate. He most impressed Ambler with how he adapted to Triple-A pitchers who could locate on the fringes of the strike zone.

“They attacked him early with lots of shape moving in, then going back to shapes going away,” Ambler said. “I think lately it’s been more of a change-of-speed sort of attack . . .

“He’s done a nice job of working through some of those things and staying true to who he is but also understanding there may be some adjustments in terms of his approach.”

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