Ryan Mountcastle had to exhibit more patience in 2020. At the plate and with his dream of reaching the majors.
The Orioles kept Mountcastle at their alternate training site in Bowie, Md., until Aug. 21, enabling the organization to gain the extra control while also improving his chances of succeeding.
The 23-year-old left fielder arrived a more polished hitter and finished as one of the top rookies in the American League.
Mountcastle batted .333/.386/.492 with five doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs in 140 plate appearances. His 14 multi-hit games were the second most by an Orioles player in his first 35 career games, trailing only Curtis Goodwin with 17 in 1995.
Mountcastle ranked first among AL rookies in on-base percentage, tied for first in three-hit games (five), second in OPS (.878), batting average and slugging percentage, third in multi-hit games (14), fifth in hits (42), tied for sixth in RBIs and eighth in home runs. His 30 hits and 19 RBIs in September led the Orioles.
Production in the clutch also came more easily to Mountcastle, who posted a .343 average (12-for-35) with runners in scoring position and .417 (5-for-12) with RISP and two outs.
Though chosen as the International League’s MVP in 2019, Mountcastle drew just 24 walks in 553 plate appearances with Triple-A Norfolk. He had 11 in his 35 games with the Orioles.
Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said that Mountcastle’s rookie production passed the eye test.
“We all watched him,” Elias said. “The at-bats were quality, the effort was spectacular, he looked good in left field, running hard every play. Just carrying himself like a big leaguer from the first minute up here. And I think that’s special.
“Even guys who turn into stars struggle with that transition (to the big leagues), and the fact that he didn’t, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing for the rest of his career, but it’s certainly a good thing and he’s a really exciting part of our future.”
— The Orioles won’t bring back Triple-A Norfolk hitting coach Sean Berry in 2021. Berry had returned to the organization, in his previous role, but the minor league season was canceled.
— Double-A Bowie fundamentals coach Butch Davis also has been let go by the Orioles. Davis previously had served as Norfolk’s hitting coach.