The Orioles are moving one of their best prospects up a level and he is moving positions as well. Up until now exclusively a shortstop, 20-year-old infielder Ryan Mountcastle has been promoted from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie and will start at third base for the Baysox at home tonight.
The 36th overall pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla., Mountcastle has had a big year at the plate at Frederick. Over 88 games, he is batting .314/.343/.542 with 35 doubles, a triple, 15 homers, 47 RBIs and with an OPS of .885.
Scouts have cast doubt on his ability to play shortstop in the majors, mostly because of what they consider a below average arm. For now, Mountcastle is staying in the infield, but moving over a spot.
“He signed as an infielder and we’re going to see if his skills translate at third,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said.
“The kid has really good abilities and he’s one of the leaders in extra-base hits in the minors. We wanted to get him some experience in Double-A this season, giving him a foundation going into next year. That Double-A team is a good ballclub. We’re hoping he gets some experience in the playoffs, too, with the Bowie team.”
Duquette was asked if moving Mountcastle to third base now is tied to anything with the major league team.
“It’s tied to Ryan’s development,” he said. “He signed as an infielder and continues to progress. He’s improving with his defense. He has pretty good feet and is a good athlete that makes some real athletic plays. He continues to work on developing arm strength. And he’s swinging the bat well. We thought it was a good time to get him to Double-A and get more experience this year.”
Mountcastle’s 35 doubles rank first in all of minor league baseball and his 51 extra-base hits rank second only to former Oriole farmhand Christian Walker, who has 54.
“We always like to have our guys get a foundation in Double-A and this will be the start of his foundation in Double-A,” Duquette said.