Things are shaping up very nicely in Charm City. Following the 2022 promotion of Adley Rutschman, the Orioles continue to produce high-end fantasy prospects. So far this season, the O’s have promoted Grayson Rodriguez, Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, and Joey Ortiz. Next up is premier power hitter Coby Mayo, a corner infielder with massive raw power that should slot into the heart of their lineup next season.
Who is Coby Mayo?
2023 (AA/AAA): 415 ABs/ .284 average/ .398 OBP/ .561 SLG/ 23 HR/ 79 RBI
Coby Mayo has quickly become one of the premier power hitters in all the Minor Leagues, producing massive exit velocities and highlight-reel home runs. His rapid ascension is no surprise to the Orioles’ brass that selected Mayo in the 4th round of the 2020 Draft, agreeing to a $1.75M deal, well above the slot value.
Mayo was among the top prep hitters in that 2020 draft class that featured Pete Crow-Armstrong, Jordan Walker, and Evan Carter, among others. Standing 6-foot-5, 230lbs, Mayo has a power-first profile, but he’s rounding into a more balanced hitter as he ages.
Mayo set expectations high in 2021 when he posted a .981 OPS in 56 games across complex league and Low-A. However, Mayo experienced some regression in 104 games last season. During his time at High-A and Double-A, he struggled to a sub-.800 OPS despite hitting 19 homers.
As a result, Mayo played his first 78 games this season at Double-A Bowie before his recent promotion to Triple-A. At Double-A, Mayo had a 1.027 OPS and a 177 WRC+ while swatting 17 homers. Since advancing to Triple-A, Mayo has continued to adjust to advanced pitchers and, in a limited sample, has three homers and 21 RBI over his 88 at-bats.
21st blast of the year for Coby Mayo.
62nd extra-base hit
— The Verge- An Orioles MiLB Podcast (@BSLOnTheVerge) August 19, 2023
Areas of Strength
As mentioned, Mayo has impressed with his power across all levels since his professional debut. His big, bulky frame (6’5″, 230) is well developed but could cause a positional change which we’ll address later. As a taller player, Mayo’s long arms and fast hands allow for an effortless journey to easy power. Early batted ball readings in Triple-A show a 111.8 mph max EV with a 110.3 mph 95th percentile.
However, producing impressive exit velocities means nothing if you cannot make contact, and Mayo is vastly different from the player he used to be. Mayo has posted an 83.1% zone-contact rate, which is an area of emphasis for him and continues to be a driving factor in his development.
In the box, Mayo has significantly improved his approach at the plate, increasing his walk rate to 16.1% this season, up from 10.3% in 2022. This change has boosted his OBP, and a more patient approach makes Mayo’s power play up even more. When pitchers miss their location, Mayo rarely misses a misplaced fastball (5.5% SwStr) and punishes mistakes over the plate, leaving pitchers little room for error.
Areas of Concern
Like most sluggers, Mayo has some swing-and-miss in his game, evidenced by his 28.1% career strikeout rate. Despite his improved numbers, there are still concerns that he can make enough contact long-term to get to his power. Another concern for Mayo is his struggles against left-handed pitching. Over the past two seasons, Mayo is hitting just .232 with seven homers and a 28% K-rate against southpaws.
Defensively, Mayo is average at best, despite having a 70-grade arm. As a minor leaguer, over 95% of his games have been at third base, and moving positions is a likely outcome. Baltimore’s left side of the infield is set, with Gunnar Henderson at third and top prospect Jackson Holliday ready to play SS. While Holliday is still in Double-A, the consensus is that he could be the Opening Day shortstop in 2024.
Coby Mayo’s Fantasy Outlook
Given the nature of the playoff push by the Orioles, I believe that Mayo will not debut until 2024. He’s had just 27 games at Triple-A with mixed results and still needs at-bats. With that said, an injury to Mountcastle, Anthony Santander, et al. could get Mayo the opportunity he needs.
When I look at Mayo, I see a lot of Austin Riley. Although Mayo is taller and a bit bulkier, their physical frames are similar. The offensive production and data in the Minors are representative of a big Major League bat, although I’m not sure Mayo gets to high-30s HR power like Riley has. The likely outcome for Mayo is more of a Rhys Hoskins power output (25-30 HRs) with a higher average and slightly lower OBP.
Two other factors to consider for Mayo include his park context and splits. “Wall-timore” has proven detrimental for right-handed hitters, and Mayo is heavy pull-side (62.7%). I’d like to see him continue to find his opposite-field stroke to add to his power outlook. Mayo has strange reverse splits, excelling against right-handed pitching but struggling against LHP, with a sub-.750 OPS over the past two seasons.
As a prospect, Mayo remains in the top-25 overall for me. If the contact continues to improve, Mayo has all the tools to be a force in fantasy leagues for years to come. Mayo is a guaranteed three (possibly four) category contributor in roto and H2H leagues. For points leagues, Mayo gets a boost in value with his high power impact despite his lack of speed in the profile. The Orioles have a young, talent-laden team, and Mayo is yet another cog to fit into a dangerous lineup.