Baltimore Orioles third-base prospect Ryan Mountcastle is back in Bowie (Class-AA) with a lot to prove. As an Orioles’ top prospect (#2 by MLB Pipeline and #3 by Baby Birdland), it is not his worthiness that he has to prove but rather, that he has moved beyond how his Spring Training ended.
As you may recall, Mountcastle received a non-roster invite to Orioles’ Spring Training. He appeared in 13 games during the spring and produced a slash line of .292/ .320/ .667 with 7 hits, 5 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 homeruns and 5 RBI. In addition, Mountcastle walked one time and struck out nine times during his spring appearances.
Upon reassignment to the Orioles minor league camp in March Mountcastle was given the stern advice from manager Buck Showalter to improve his plate discipline; he was told to be less of a free-swinger and to increase his walk totals (he walked 17 times in 127 games in 2017).
Any designs Mountcastle had on achieving those goals, as well as his spring, ended two days after his reassignment. Mountcastle was hit in the right hand during an at-bat in a Class-AAA game against the Minnesota Twins; he suffered a hairline fracture of that hand. Projected to miss 4-6 weeks, Mountcastle returned to game action with the Baysox on May 10th.
Mountcastle definitely made his presence known in his season debut. He went 3 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI against the Hartford Yard Goats in that debut. As of last night (the completion of Monday’s suspended game and the suspended scheduled game), he is slashing .429/ .458/ .524 with 9 hits, 4 runs scored, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 2 walks and no strike outs.
He has hit safely in 5 of the 6 games he has played in this season and has reached base safely in all 6 of them. Additionally, Mountcastle has scored a run in 3 of the 6 games he has played in.
Keeping in mind the small sample size, Mountcastle’s batting average and on-base percentage both currently lead the Baysox.
Since the injury was to his throwing hand, it will be important to keep an eye on Mountcastle’s fielding. His current fielding percentage is .875 as he has handled 8 total chances while committing 1 error.
Six games is such a small sample size but the early indications are that Mountcastle is back. All eyes will be on him as he sets out to prove that he is both healthy and ready to put Showalter’s advice into action. Should Mountcastle prove those things he should, at the very least, finish 2018 as a member of the Norfolk Tides (Class-AAA) infield.
** To read more from Josh Michael (founder/editor Baby Birdland), Nick Stevens and myself about all levels of the Baltimore Orioles minor leagues please visit Baby Birdland **