This, that and the other

The results of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Rookie of the Year voting will be announced tonight beginning at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. The National League winner will go first.

Ryan Mountcastle isn’t among the three finalists in the American League, but we’ll find out where he’s slotted behind the group.

Mountcastle can’t do better than fourth after trailing Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco and Houston’s Luis Garcia.

Critics of Franco, formerly the No. 1 prospect in baseball, will point out that he played in only 70 games and amassed 308 plate appearances. He batted .288/.347/.463 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 39 RBIs.

Thumbnail image for Mountcastle-Tilts-Head-Gray-Sidebar.jpgSupporters of Mountcastle will note that he played in 144 games and amassed 586 plate appearances. He batted .255/.309/.487 with 23 doubles, 33 home runs and 89 RBIs.

His home runs ranked first among all rookies and his RBIs were second to the Rangers’ Adolis García (90).

I’ll say again, and probably for the last time in 2021, that Mountcastle’s chances were damaged early by batting .196 with a .515 OPS in April. He was climbing uphill for a while.

Voters also could have been influenced by Mountcastle’s minus-1.5 dWAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He’s a better first baseman than left fielder and pretty much stayed in the dirt after June, with only a few brief exceptions.

Mountcastle was chosen Rookie of the Year in the Major League Baseball Players Association’s Players Choice Awards, finishing ahead of Arozarena and Adolis García. It probably means more to him because his peers did the voting.

What means the most to the Orioles is that Mountcastle will be batting in the middle of their order again next season and for many more to come.

* Triple-A Norfolk left-hander Nick Vespi, 26, tossed a scoreless and hitless inning in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game.

Vespi, the only Orioles representative, retired the first two batters in the seventh inning before walking Cardinals prospect Brendan Donovan in an at-bat that lasted seven pitches. He struck out Juan Yepez, also from the St. Louis organization, to strand Donovan.

Donovan is the Cardinals’ No. 17 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, and Yepez is No. 26.

You won’t find Vespi in the Orioles’ Top 30, but he posted a 1.42 ERA and 0.947 WHIP in 14 relief appearances with Double-A Bowie to earn a promotion to Norfolk. He had a 6.86 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 16 games with the Tides.

In nine games with the Mesa Solar Sox, Vespi is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.275 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

The Orioles would need to put Vespi on the 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 draft and might not have the luxury with so many other players vulnerable. Exposure in the AFL, with so many eyes on him, could lead a team to take a chance on him.

The hesitation would come from his Triple-A numbers and the 4.1 walks he’s averaging per nine innings with Mesa.

* The Rays traded infielder Mike Brosseau to the Brewers over the weekend in exchange for Single-A pitcher Evan Reifert.

You ask why, as an Orioles fan, you should have the slightest interest in this deal and wonder why I’d waste your precious time. I say, “Your words hurt,” but also, let me explain.

Brosseau is a career .245/.311/.438 hitter with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs in 409 plate appearances over parts of three seasons. He’s a career .322/.365/.729 hitter with eight home runs and 12 RBIs in 63 plate appearances against the Orioles, who celebrated every transaction that sent him back down to Triple-A Durham.

He had five home runs this season and two came against the Orioles in 14 plate appearances.

He’s out of the division. Let him pick on someone else.

The 2022 interleague schedule includes the Brewers visiting Camden Yards on April 11-13. The Orioles must hope that Brosseau is playing for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

Otherwise, that sound you hear is a light-hitting utility player tormenting them again.

blog comments powered by Disqus