Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins joined the 30-homer, 30-steal club with a three-run blast on Friday night against the Texas Rangers. Mullins' effort is the 65th 30-30 season in big-league history, and the first recorded by a member of the Orioles.
Mullins, who will turn 27 years old on Oct. 1, has been one of the rare bright spots for another lousy Orioles team. This season, he's hit 300/.370/.536 (142 OPS+) with the aforementioned 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases (on 38 attempts). His play has been worth more than six wins above replacement, per Baseball Reference's calculations, or the seventh-most among all big-league position players.
Mullins' breakout has been fueled by him optimizing his batted-ball profile. While his average exit velocity and launch angle haven't changed by much, he has reduced extreme outcomes. As a result, 39 percent of his batted balls have been recorded as "hard hit," as opposed to 32 percent last season. Meanwhile, 36 percent of his batted balls have been launched in the 10-to-30-degree "sweet spot" range, versus just 23 percent in 2020.
Mullins' 30-30 season is the fifth since the start of the 2013 season, and the first since 2019 as last year's pandemic-shortened 60-game campaign didn't allow players time to accumulate gaudy counting stats. Christian Yelich and Ronald Acuña Jr. both accomplished the feat in 2019. Prior to them, Mookie Betts and José Ramírez had done so in 2018. Betts and Ramírez snapped a five-year drought for 30-30 seasons, as the league hadn't seen anyone join the club since 2012, when Ryan Braun and Mike Trout both pulled it off.
It should be noted that Mullins may not be the only player to join the 30-30 club this season. San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. entered Saturday with the requisite amount of home runs (41), but in need of five more stolen bases (25) to gain his membership card. Ramírez is in a similar situation: he has 35 home runs, but only 25 steals. It's unclear how the Padres joining the future Guardians outside of the playoff picture will impact either of their individual pursuits of statistical history.