Birds Watcher’s 2022 Baltimore Orioles report card series is back in session. Our next pupil? None other than first baseman Ryan Mountcastle.
The Baltimore Orioles took a flier on SP Jordan Lyles, offering him a one-year deal for 2022. How did Lyles perform according to his expectations?
Mounty entered 2022 fresh off of his first full MLB season wherein he mashed 33 home runs and finished sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting. His home run output decreased by one-third, but the 25 year old continued to tattoo baseballs, made great strides defensively, and showed why his name will likely be penciled into the middle of the Baltimore Orioles lineup for several more years.
Baltimore Orioles 2022 Report Card: Ryan Mountcastle
In case you’ve missed previous report cards, our grading system for hitters is divided into three different categories: offense, defense, and an elective third category of our choosing. How did Ryan Mountcastle’s final grades look?
Mountcastle’s streaky offensive output hampers his 2022 grade, but there was still plenty of encouraging numbers that give Orioles fans hope that the young slugger will take a step forward in 2023
As mentioned above, Mountcastle’s home run total decreased by one third from 33 to 22, though partial blame can be attributed to Walltimore in left field at Camden Yards in addition to plain old bad luck – his home run total was nearly six fewer than the 27.6 home runs he was projected to hit based upon his batted ball data.
Mountcastle’s batted ball data was excellent and not at all indicative of a player who finished with a .250 average and a 106 wRC+. Nearly all of his counting stats finished short of was his batted ball quality typically produces.
Actual wOBA: .316, Expected wOBA: .362
Actual AVG: .250, Expected AVG: .277
Actual SLG: .423, Expected SLG: .509
That’s a huge discrepancy! His batted ball quality was that of an All Star caliber hitter, yet his numbers were largely average relative to his peers. Unfortunately in the case of Mountcastle’s grade, production matters, and we had to knock a letter grade down, but expect an A-grade performance next year if he continues to hit the ball like he did in 2022.
Defense has been a question mark hounding Mountcastle since the day he was drafted as a shortstop. Few projected that he would stick there, but would he become at least an average defender at third, second, or a corner outfield spot?
It turns out he’s a first baseman, and an incredibly good one. His 2 Outs Above Average ranked 8th among major league first basemen and was in the 80th percentile of all defenders regardless of position. Mountcastle going from a defensive question mark to an above average first baseman is a bonus for the Orioles and a testament to his ability and work ethic. He’s earned his A.
Rocking the Homer Chain: A
Many donned the fabled home run chain throughout the course of 2022, but none did so with the unbridled swag that Ryan Mountcastle did. Even when he was in the middle of a slump, Mountcastle managed to pimp out the moment.
Give the guy a bat next year and he’ll be pimping that chain plenty more than he did in 2022. Just sit back and watch him cook.
Final GPA: 3.67
Ryan Mountcastle has incredibly poor batted ball luck to blame for not earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. It masked improvements in other areas – for instance, he cut his strikeout rate by two percent and his walk rate rose slightly. Baltimore Orioles fans may have been disappointed by his final stat line but don’t sweat it too much, the underlying data is promising and Mountcastle will almost assuredly have a more productive season in 2023.