As the four full-season affiliates in the Orioles organization have all now played around 36 games, we’ve got a large enough sample size to see a few things emerge.
A few quick impressions:
* Ryan Mountcastle’s bat has been pretty special during his debut season at age 20 in the Carolina League for Single-A Frederick. Yes, there are big questions about his defense at shortstop, but his bat looks like it has future middle-of-the-order potential.
He went 4-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs last night. Over his last five games, he is batting .579 (11-for-19) with four doubles, a triple, a homer and four RBIs.
For the season, Mountcastle is hitting .342/.368/.596 with 14 doubles, a triple and seven homers with 26 RBIs and an OPS of .964.
This is one impressive start for the kid. By comparison, Manny Machado was in the Carolina League at 19 in 2011. In 63 games, he hit .245/.308/.384 with an OPS of .692.
Mountcastle ranks first in the Carolina League in hits and tied for first in doubles, second in batting average and tied for second in extra-base hits, tied for third in homers, and fourth in slugging. His seven homers are first among all Orioles minor leaguers and just three fewer than he hit all last season at Single-A Delmarva. The power is certainly emerging.
* Left-hander Tanner Scott is making nice progress at Double-A Bowie. Making three-inning starts every fifth day, he has thrown nine scoreless on just one hit over his past three outings with five walks and 14 strikeouts.
For the year, Scott has pitched 21 innings and given up just six hits and three runs for an ERA of 1.29, with 16 walks to 31 strikeouts.
This is a southpaw that can touch 100 mph, sometimes more, on the radar gun. But his command and slider are now making gains, and that progress is good to see. The walk total is still too high, but keep in mind that lefties are hitting just .042 (1-for-24 with 13 strikeouts) against him and righties are batting .122 (5-for-41 with 18 strikeouts).
Would the O’s even consider bringing him to Baltimore later this year? They might, but for now the feeling seems to be let him stick with this current program at Bowie, which has produced some of the desired results for Scott.
By the way, how about this stat? In 78 career minor league games and 150 2/3 innings since his pro career began in 2014, Scott has allowed just one home run.
* The Orioles may be developing some outfield prospects. Starting at the highest level, Mike Yastrzemski has hit .333 in 11 games since joining Triple-A Norfolk.
At Bowie, Cedric Mullins hopefully gets back soon from his left hamstring injury. He got off to a great start, batting .367/.406/.683 through 14 games after the Orioles skipped him past Frederick and right to the Eastern League. He had played at Delmarva last season. DJ Stewart is batting .248/.326/.479, but that slugging percentage is well up from his .399 last year and he has eight doubles, a triple, six homers and 21 RBIs in his first year with the Baysox.
The O’s 2016 third-round pick Austin Hays continues to have a solid year for Frederick, batting .294. Keys outfielder Randolph Gassaway is 6-for-11 his past three games with three doubles and six RBIs. A 16th-round draft pick in 2013, Baseball America ranked Gassaway as the organization’s No. 24 prospect over the winter. On the year, he is batting .323/.366/.444 with eight doubles, a triple and two homers with 28 RBIs, which is the most of any O’s minor leaguer.
At Delmarva, center fielder and leadoff hitter Ryan McKenna is batting a solid .275 with a .352 on-base percentage, 30 runs scored and five steals. Cole Billingsley is batting .222, but has 10 steals in 10 attempts. Jake Ring, after his sizzling start which earned him the O’s minor league Player of the Month award for April, is still going pretty well. In 32 games overall, he is batting .328/.382/.624 with 13 doubles, three triples, six homers and 27 RBIs. He is tied for second among O’s farmhands in homers and second in RBIs.
Right now, two O’s farm teams have winning records and two losing records. Frederick and Bowie are 19-18, Delmarva is 15-21 and Norfolk is 15-22.