After being limited by injuries in 2023, Ryan Mountcastle looks for productive '24

For a player that was limited by injuries to 115 games and 470 plate appearances in the 2023, Ryan Mountcastle still did some nice things with his potentially potent bat. Especially in the second half when his OBP soared to heights when have not seen from him in the big leagues.

On the year Mounty hit .270/.328/.452/.779 producing career bests in batting average and OBP and producing his best OPS+ in his three full years of 117.

In the lineup he was topped by Adley Rutschman (128), Gunnar Henderson (125), Ryan O'Hearn (122) and Anthony Santander (121).

In the second half Mountcastle hit .322/.404/.489/.893 as he showed the better batting eye and got into some deeper counts. Per hit career this stretch was an outlier for a player with a .309 OBP in 2021 and .305 in 2022. 

A big outlier. But maybe it was part of an improvement that will serve him well during the 2024 season.

In the last 45 games of last year, Mountcastle hit .327/.418/.481/.899. Yes, a .418 OBP after his OBP was just .269 in his first 70 games.

During Birdland Caravan, O's co-hitting coach Matt Borgschulte told discussed Mountcastle's good batting eye and approach in the second-half.

“I think that is huge for him and something he keeps working on – continuing to hone in on his plate discipline," he said. "Go after only pitches he can drive. What he can do when he makes contact is outstanding, so the urge to swing often is understandable.

“He has continued to focus on that in his training and dealing with injuries last year gave him more challenges. So, it was nice to see him come back and solidify himself and get that in his rear-view.

“I think he is still coming into his own and learning the pitchers and it’s been fun to watch him get better."

There is no such thing as second-half league leaders but per STATS, Mountcastle's .404 OBP after the break would have tied for fourth in the AL behind Yordan Alvarez (.425), Yandy Diaz (.413) and Aaron Judge (.408) had he enough plate appearances.

That is lofty and unexpected territory for Mountcastle in that stat.

Said co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller: “He has these spurts where he goes through a stretch making unbelievable swing decisions. But what we were excited about late in the year it was happening more consistently. Something was clicking for him. He was not afraid to get into deeper at-bats and take a walk. If he sustains that, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the AL East."

Mountcastle has always been able to make solid contact and in 2023, ranked among MLB's top 11 percent in expecting slugging, top 17 percent in exit velocity and top 21 percent in barrel percentage.

O's off to 3-1 start: The Orioles played twice on Monday, split squad games. The team in North Port, beat Atlanta 2-1 to improve the club's record to 3-0 at that point. Moments later they completed an 8-3 loss at home to Tampa Bay.

Against the Braves, Jordan Westburg and Kyle Stowers homered and Westburg added a triple. Seth Johnson got the start, throwing two scoreless as seven Baltimore pitchers limited Atlanta to four hits.

At Ed Smith Stadium, Cionel Pérez and Kyle Brnovich each gave up four runs in the loss. Cade Povich got the start and threw two scoreless. Justin Armbruester fanned four in three scoreless innings. 

The Orioles play Detroit today at home with Grayson Rodriguez getting the start against a Tigers split-squad team in Sarasota. Dean Kremer starts Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers. 



Orioles lineup vs. split-squad Tigers in Sarasota
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