In 2015, the Orioles drafted an 18-year-old shortstop in the first round, the 36th overall pick. Of course, as with many shortstops, Ryan Mountcastle had a high possibility of moving from that position in the future because of his size.
Mountcastle was a gifted and talented athlete, which allowed for him to be moved and learn new positions. As Mountcastle grew as a player, he would learn to play third base, first base and left field.
With 2020 came the cancellation of the minor league season and a truncated major league season. It was then when Mountcastle would be a part of the 2020 Orioles squad in the second half of the season.
Across 35 games, Mountcastle would slash .333/.386/.492, accumulating 42 hits, including five doubles and five home runs. He would drive in 23 runs, and on defense, his one error came at first base, which he played 10 games.
At the start of the 2021 season, Mountcastle was receiving more work at first base, as he would play 84 of his 144 games at first. He did not disappoint, as he set the club rookie record for home runs in a season with 33 and hit .255 with 89 RBIs.
His 2021 season was one that had many fans hopeful of what he could provide to a young rebuilding club. He would finish the season with a .998 fielding percentage at first, while his offensive numbers provided a glimpse into how special Mountcastle was and would be.
Unfortunately for Mountcastle, bad luck ensued offensively in 2022. Though Mountcastle would hit .250, his home run totals dropped, as he hit only 22 round trippers. His RBIs were similar from the year before, but he had more doubles and total hits for the season than the previous year.
Though moving the left field wall back in Baltimore might have contributed to the drop in production, it was more bad luck than loss of skill.
Mountcastle ranked in the top 12% in exit velocity at 91.3 mph. He was in the top six in barrel percentage, and his expected slugging percentage of .508 ranked him in the top four percent of the league.
The data actually shows improvement for Mountcastle, as all these numbers are better than his rookie season. Unfortunately, to the eye test, it looks like Mountcastle regressed, instead of improving like the data showed.
“Yeah, I thought it was a good year overall,” Mountcastle said. “I just thought it was a little unlucky. Felt like day in and day out, I was hitting a ball or two hard a game, and towards the end, they weren’t really falling at all. Little frustrating but happy where I finished, but you can always improve.”
It was that mentality that many fans appreciated in the young player, but the pundits wanted results and were ready to jettison Mountcastle out. Many seemed to forget that the young first baseman was only in his third big league season.
As 2023 rolled around, this writer and my fellow colleague Jason have picked Ryan Mountcastle for our Orioles’ MVP for the 2023 season. After a monster spring that saw Mountcastle collect extra base hits like Easter eggs, the regular season has seen that success carry over.
Lord Mountcastle exploded in the Orioles’ most recent 12-8 victory over the Athletics Tuesday night, as he would go 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two home runs and nine RBIs. He tied Eddie Murray (May 26, 1985) and Jim Gentile (May 9, 1961) as the only other Orioles to collect nine or more RBIs in a game.
Those nine RBIs gave Mountcastle the major league lead with 18, and he’s now tied for the league lead with five home runs. He is currently slashing .289/.320/.711, and nine of Mountcastle’s 13 hits have gone for extra bases.
Of course, this is only 11 games into the season, but Mountcastle is a notoriously slow starter. To see him race out to such a monstrous start to the season is refreshing.
Hitters like Adley Rutschman (.395 avg, three HRs) and Austin Hays (.333 avg, three HRs) are producing out the gate as well, and we all know Anthony Santander is going to heat up quickly.
As of now, it’s Lord Mountcastle’s world, and we are just the loyal subjects in envy of his feats. We will cheer him, and he will lead our team to victory.
What do you think of Mounty’s hot start? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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3 thoughts on “Ryan Mountcastle: The Lord of Baltimore”
Jeeze louise Stephen….what’s NOT to like about Mountcastle’s start? Love it of course!
BTW …. nice article and a fun read today…keep ’em coming.
One note…and I DO remember noting this about a month ago around here, but don’t I remember quite a few in the monkey gallery calling for a Mountcastle trade this offseason? You know who you are out there! One bad (by his standards anyway), and everybody seemed to forget what he brought with him from the minors as well as that magical call up season of his. Funny, but I’m wondering what those folks think of him this morning? (I know Mr. Heckman wasn’t one of those)
This guy is a stud Bal’more. Gonna be an allstar soon enough.
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Oh, I’m definitely driving the Mountcastle locomotive lol. Jason, another writer for us, and I have Mountcastle picked as our Orioles MVP this season. I believe this is a breakout season for Mounty, for sure. Yeah, there were a few writers I read who gave up on Mountcastle after last season, but his numbers, outside of home run totals, were similar or better.
Sorry, hit send before I finished lol… thank you for the support, and I appreciate your feedback as well. I agree, it’s a matter of time as to when the rest of the league sees how good Mounty really is.