McCoy making major impression

The Orioles prospect talk doesn’t usually bring infielder Mason McCoy into the conversation.

Pitching is the area that warrants the most attention, and fans are waiting for first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and outfielders Austin Hays and Yusniel Diaz to be thrust into the rebuild. Catcher Chance Sisco made it back and DJ Stewart got the call before landing on the injured list with a sprained ankle.

There aren’t many cries for McCoy, 24, but I sense that there’s been gradual notice.

Orioles bags.jpgMcCoy is batting .320 with an .805 OPS after going 0-for-5 last night. He had collected nine hits in the past five games.

MLB Pipeline ranks McCoy as the No. 30 prospect in the organization.

“He’s a good kid,” said Bowie manager Buck Britton, older brother of reliever Zack Britton. “He’s a hard worker, a very coachable kid, he’s a good teammate. He’s got all those little intangibles working for him.

“I think the biggest thing with Mason is the consistency that he’s finding. He’s really good at hitting the ball to right field, and I think in today’s age and all the shifting in the game and stuff that people are doing, that’s one thing that defenses don’t seem to take into account. He’s really good at hitting the ball to right field.”

McCoy didn’t get drafted as a junior at the University of Iowa, a jolt of disappointment that didn’t knock him off his feet. The Orioles selected him the following year in the sixth round.

They promoted McCoy from Single-A Frederick after he slashed .379/.416/.509 in 116 at-bats, and he collected 20 hits in his first 49 at-bats in the Eastern League, with a double, three triples and a home run.

“He’s pretty good at shortstop. He’s got good hands, he’s got good action,” said Britton, who managed McCoy last summer at low Single-A Delmarva.

“I don’t even know what round he was drafted in, to be honest with you, but coming from Iowa, I know it’s a Division I program but I don’t think it’s as highly touted as other programs, but he’s done a nice job of really working hard and putting himself on the map. That’s for sure.”

A scout from outside the organization who watched McCoy at Bowie said the infielder is “physically maturing and stepping up.”

“He played big league defense at shortstop and has made mega strides offensively,” the scout said. “His OBP and low strikeout rate are impressive. He has an excellent feel for the game, he hustles and plays hard.”

The same scout expressed his disappointment in catcher Martin Cervenka, who was slashing .200/.259/.254 in 37 games before going on the injured list with a broken rib. Cervenka, who drew praise last summer for his work behind the plate and his presence, hasn’t played since May 31.

Cervenka, who received an invitation to spring training, began to heat up with eight hits in five games before going 0-for-3 in his last at-bats. And here’s the crazy part: He broke the rib after being hit by a pitch and continued to play for another week.

Cervenka hasn’t been able to adjust to a steady diet of off-speed and breaking stuff, and now he’s recovery from an injury that could keep him out for a month, which is one estimate that I’ve heard.

The scout referred to Cervenka’s “apoplectic batting slump with an extreme aversion to spin.”

* A quick recap of yesterday’s pregame activity for the Orioles included:

Pitchers Branden Kline and Tanner Scott were recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

The Giants claimed outfielder Joey Rickard off waivers.

Trey Mancini finished 15th among American League outfielders in All-Star voting, failing to crack the top nine and advance to the next voting round.

The Orioles announced the signing of Competitive Balance Round B pick Kyle Stowers, a center fielder chosen 71st overall.

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