Orioles Will Find A Position For Hard-Hitting Ryan Mountcastle
The third base experiment with Ryan Mountcastle will resume this season, with the Orioles trying to determine whether he possesses the necessary arm strength for the position. They’re enamored of the 21-year-old's hitting skills, convinced that his bat will play at the major league level. The challenge is finding a spot for him in the field.
The Orioles promoted Mountcastle from high Class A Frederick to Double-A Bowie last summer after 88 games and also moved him off shortstop. His professional education would be expanded beyond adjusting to a higher level of pitching.
Mountcastle will receive an invitation to big league camp before returning to Bowie. In 127 games last season, he hit .287/.312/.489 with 18 home runs and a minor league-leading 48 doubles.
"The issue will be if he can throw well enough to (remain) at third base,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He came around in Double-A in August. He started to hit the last three weeks of the season, and he followed that up with some good at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.
"Really the key for him—he’s got good athletic ability—will be if he’ll be able to throw well enough to stay on the left side of the diamond. But he’s got a terrific bat and he kills lefthanded pitching."
Mountcastle, a 2015 first-rounder out of high school in Oviedo, Fla., hit .352/.367/.599 with seven homers in 162 at-bats versus southpaws in 2017.
"He’s going to big league camp with us and you’ll get to see him play a lot,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He’s going to play a lot, especially in the road games, so it will be a good experience for him.”
"Here is a guy with good hands, athleticism, balance and agility with quickness,” director of player development Brian Graham said. "He runs well and he can hit. We’re going to find a place for him.”
Mountcastle worked out in California with vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson.
Ryan Mountcastle: Orioles 2020 Rookie Of The Year
The ease at which hard-hitting Ryan Mountcastle transitioned to the big leagues bodes well for his future.
"I put ball on a tee for him and it looked like a slo-pitch softball home run derby,” Anderson said. "I never said a word to him, because he’s had success and I don’t tamper with guys who have had success. If you watch Ryan compared to other minor leaguers, (the ball) sounds different (off his bat). The bat speed is different. The ball jumps off his bat."