Mountcastle has overcome a slow start before

Ryan Mountcastle has been here before. He is struggling early in the season. During a 2021 season that ended for him with an Orioles rookie record 33 homers and with a .796 OPS, he got off to a very slow start.

Through 25 games last season, Mountcastle, who went on to finish sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, was batting .198/.229/.286/.515. He is actually struggling a bit less now, per the stat sheet, through 22 games, batting .227/.261/.307/.568.

Since he got out of a major slump early last year, he just has to do it again. And having done it once sure gives him experience and confidence that he will do it again.

“A little bit," he said today in the O's clubhouse. "This year I feel like I’m putting together better at-bats than I did last year early in the year. Some things just aren’t falling right now. I feel like I’ve probably lined out about five or six games in a row. That’s just baseball. You have to get through it, and hopefully they start dropping soon. Going through that struggle last year has definitely kept me level-headed going through a rough patch."

So what did he do then that could help now?

"Honestly, just staying confident," he said. "I know I can hit well and produce. So just staying confident and sticking with and trusting my routine. Get a couple of more at-bats, spring training was a little short. So, I think, coming up here next couple of weeks hopefully I get it locked in and keep it going the rest of the year.

“I feel like I had a pretty good year last year. So just trying to pick back up where I left off then. You know, hopefully I figure it out pretty soon and get it rolling."

I asked him if the players talk to each other about their at-bats and a team-wide struggle that has seen Baltimore score fewer than three runs in a game 14 times already.

“Sometimes, if guys are struggling, they will talk to other guys and try and get some feedback. But I feel like we are putting together good at-bats, and there was a stat about us being No. 1 in baseball in line-drive percentage and it’s just a matter of those good barrels falling, and I think we will start scoring more runs."

Mountcastle was right about that stat. At 26.0 percent, it's the Orioles leading the majors in line-drive percentage, followed by Tampa Bay at 25.0.

The O's new co-hitting coaches, Ryan Fuller and Matt Borgschulte, are in their first years in the majors. But Mountcastle feels any criticism of that duo is unfounded.

“I love those guys," he said. "They are great and they’ve been doing a good job. Like I said, we are hitting the ball hard and it’s just not falling right now. Even across the league, it seems like everything is down – homers and average."

And on the plus side, the pitching continues to show improvements.

“For sure," Mountcastle said. "Our pitchers are keeping us in these games. Even though we are not putting up a bunch of runs, we are in these games, thanks to the pitchers, and hopefully they keep it going as well." 


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