O's ink 2nd-rounder Norby; Mancini on Derby

July 16th, 2021

The Orioles signed second-round Draft pick (41st overall) Connor Norby on Friday. The infielder from East Carolina University was ranked as the No. 58 prospect in the 2021 Draft by MLB Pipeline. 

Norby was slated as one of the best hitters in the Draft, leading all Division I programs in hits (102). During his junior season -- while slashing .425/.484/.659 -- he became the fourth player in ECU history with 100 or more hits in a single season.

The AAC Player of the Year’s $1.7 million bonus checks in right under the slot value for the 41st pick ($1,813,500), according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis.

Following his selection to Baltimore on Day 2 of the Draft, Norby shared a post to social media.

“Blessed to be a part of this organization,” Norby shared in a caption on Instagram. “Ready to start this thing! Go Orioles!”

The O’s scouting department is confident in the slugger’s ability to take quality at-bats and make hard contact.

“Norby has tremendous feel for the barrel and has the ability to adjust well,” said supervisor of domestic scouting operations Brad Ciolek. “It’s a lightning-fast bat and he’s shown he can hit elite stuff. We really like what we are getting here in terms of the offensive potential.”

Mancini reflects on Derby

Both Cedric Mullins and former teammate Manny Machado acted as coaches for Trey Mancini during the Home Run Derby. The adrenaline was already getting to the Orioles' first baseman, so he stepped back after 50 seconds to calm down.

“I told Ced I was probably gonna need them at the timeout to give me a little pep talk or call me down because I knew the adrenaline will be pumping,” Mancini said. “I was not anticipating taking a timeout that quickly, but I couldn't get anything going those first 50-plus seconds. So, I needed to kind of step back, reset, take it all in and kind of hone in because I knew that I could put up a much better performance than that. [Mullins] and Manny throughout the entire Derby were huge for me.”

The best part of the weekend for Mancini was having his whole family there, supporting him as they have done throughout his entire journey this past year and a half. He joked that his family was able to get their Christmas card photo out of the way, which isn’t Mancini’s favorite thing to do. On a serious note, he stated multiple times how special it was to have friends, family and his girlfriend in attendance to share those moments together after “a lot of tough days.”

Mancini has been very adamant about showing people there is life after a cancer diagnosis, one of the main reasons he agreed to do the Derby.

“There [have] actually been countless people who have reached out and told me that they were recently either diagnosed with colon cancer, another form of cancer or any illness,” Mancini said. “It was so touching and that's exactly why I wanted to do it. I want to respond to everything I can … I'm just so appreciative for all the kind words. The messages have just been flooding in and it's been amazing.”

After smacking a total of 59 homers in the Derby, earning a second-place finish, Mancini feels like he has his groove back. Many players worry about participating in the event for fear of messing up their swing. Not Mancini.

“I was kind of joking before that my swing wasn't really feeling too great in the three weeks to a month leading up to the Derby,” Mancini joked. “So, I figured, what the hell, I don't know if it could be that much more messed up. It was just such a fun night and one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.”

O’s skipper Brandon Hyde was in awe of Mancini’s performance. Not only knowing what Mancini overcame to get to that point, but the athletic ability it takes to compete in the Derby.

“My house was going nuts,” Hyde said. “That was so cool. I don't know how he did it. I texted him after, what an amazing performance. I'm sure everybody watching was pulling for him just because he's so classy, so likable. Coming back from what he's come back from, and to perform like that … the guy continues to amaze me every day.”