Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, BAL

24-year-old Ryan Mountcastle had a nice first season in the majors in 2020, but juuust avoided losing rookie eligibility. He should be a regular in the outfield for the Orioles in 2021, and maybe play 1B a little as well. What does the team have in this young player?

Video courtesy of Palmer on Pittsburgh
  • Born: February 18, 1997
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’3″, 210-lbs
  • Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1st round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft from Paul J. Hagerty HS (Oviedo, FL).

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Nice steady progress up the ladder. When he repeated AA, he improved. When he reached AAA, he did better than he did in AA, though his strikeouts understandably increased while his walk rate slide back a bit. Then in the majors last year, his OBP reached a career high, though his power took a step back, though his strikeouts and walks both improved.

I use color to help draw the eye to meaningful progress (or regress), but the chart above confuses me. Blue turns better to Green, then worse to Yellow, while in some other metric it’s going from Yellow to Red and then back to Yellow.

At least his OBP is showing a nice, smooth trend.

So what did he do in the majors in more detail:

Uh huh. Hit the ball sort of hard, but with poor exit velocity. Didn’t strike out too much, but didn’t walk excessively. Nice speed, poor barrels and whiffs. Expect a decent BA, but not a great BA.

Yeah, not getting a clear picture here either.

In the majors he hit righties better. But in Triple-A he his lefties better. The key is he never hit poorly against anyone, and until we have more data we shouldn’t peg him as needing a platoon. He looks as if he can hit as a regular.

He sprays the singles all over the field, but his doubles, and especially his home runs, are pull power. We don’t see great power yet from Mountcastle.

He has a pattern, doesn’t he? He starts a season on the upswing in his OPS rate, peaks in early or late summer, then fades. Still a good career average OPS.

The Scouts

Warnings

His Statcast numbers warn us that his power is not there yet, and his BA is not fully ready. He can put up average numbers for now, but don’t expect power or a high BA in the short term.

Conclusion

Mountcastle is viewed as a clear Top 100 guy, and for redraft leagues you get a guy who qualifies as a rookie but who has a clear chance to play every day. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Dynasty leaguers will be happier with him as his power needs to develop, and he might have a step back year as pitchers adjust to him. Be patient, and enjoy a solid regular who might step up further in the years to come.

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