Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle Joins The Party
For the fourth-straight day, a Baltimore Orioles prospect is on an MLB Pipeline Top 10 prospect list.
When I started writing about baseball a few years ago, it was for a website dedicated to covering the Baltimore Orioles minor leagues. There were some interesting prospects but writing about a farm system that had Mike Wright, Jomar Reyes, and Christian Walker all ranked as Top 10 prospects didn’t have the star power that demanded much attention.
Times sure have changed in Birdland. Working towards the release of their Top 100 prospects on January 22nd, MLB Pipeline is releasing position-by-position Top 10 lists, all of which have featured a Baltimore Orioles prospect, up to this point.
Joining Grayson Rodriguez (#10 right-handed pitcher), DL Hall (#10 left-handed pitcher), and Adley Rutschman (#1 catcher) is first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle will enter the 2020 season ranked as the 4th-best prospect in baseball.
The Top 10 (ETA)
Andrew Vaughn, White Sox (2021)
Evan White, Mariners (2020)
Triston Casas, Red Sox (2022)
Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles (2020)
Seth Beer, Diamondbacks (2020)
Lewin Diaz, Marlins (2020)
Bobby Bradley, Indians (2020)
Michael Toglia, Rockies (2022)
Grant Lavigne, Rockies (2022)
Tyler Nevin, Rockies (2020)
There are a lot of questions surrounding Mountcastle as he prepares to make his debut with the Orioles at some point in 2020. Two specific questions seem to be asked over and over again. Where will he play defense? Can he produce more walks?
Those will be answered in due time, but for now, let the man enter the big leagues and show what he can do.
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As a 21-year-old in the Eastern League (Double-A), Mountcastle posted a 121 wRC+ and .357 wOBA. Both of those numbers ranked 13th in the EL in 2018. Mountcastle was three years younger than the average player in the Eastern League that year.
Last season, Mountcastle took home International League MVP honors after hitting 25 home runs with a .367 wOBA and a 117 wRC+. Again, he found himself in the top 15 in each of those categories, now four years younger than the rest of the competition, on average.
Mountcastle likely won’t be on the 26-man roster come Opening Day, but it won’t be too much longer before Brandon Hyde is putting his name in a starting lineup. He may not draw many walks, he may struggle at the many different positions he is put it on defense, and he may even struggle at the plate early on, but the skill set is there for long-term success in the major leagues.
Pipeline will continue their position-by-position rollout next week, where I doubt any more Orioles prospects appear, but four isn’t a bad place to start considering this farm system was considered one of the worst in baseball just one year ago.