The 2020 regular season has been, amongst other things, an extreme look at sample sizes across Major League Baseball.
So it feels only natural that, after 11 games of his major league career, to evaluate Ryan Mountcastle's first week-and-a-half in the big leagues.
And through nearly two weeks in the majors, there’s plenty to be excited about.
“I’ve been really impressed with Ryan, in every aspect,” manager Brandon Hyde said Wednesday. “How he’s carried himself, maturity, his athleticism. I liked his at-bats, I know he had a tough night last night a little bit but I liked his swings — I thought he’s trying to stay on the baseball. I think he’s swinging the bat better than I’ve seen him, and he’s playing defense better than I’ve seen him, and he’s getting down the line better. I think that there’s a lot to like about Ryan.”
After a two-hit performance against the Mets on Wednesday, Mountcastle boosted his average to .341 and his OPS to .937. He didn’t strike out or draw a walk.
Through 45 plate appearances in his major league career, he’s tallied 14 hits and four walks for an on-base percentage of .400. The power has come through at times, as he blasted two home runs against the Blue Jays a few days ago for his first, and second, home runs as an Oriole.
In 11 games as an Oriole, he's reached base safely in nine games and has registered at least one hit in eight games. He’s played 10 games in left field and has yet to make a single error with 16 putouts.
In short, Mountcastle has done everything and more the Orioles have asked from him — and more.
“The difference from a swing decision standpoint is huge from what I’ve seen at Spring Training and Summer Camp,” Hyde said. “I see a lot less chases, see a lot better passes at the baseball in the strike zone and that’s what we’re looking for. He obviously really worked on that these last couple months and did a really nice job, because it’s a marked improvement.”
The first highly-regarded Orioles prospect of the rebuild to make his debut in the majors, the 2015 first-round draft choice certainly had to wait his turn to make his debut.
But now, the once-Top-100 prospect in baseball has been a consistent bright spot in the Orioles’ lineup for the two weeks that he’s been part of the team. It might not be much for this season, but it’s hard to envision a better start to Mountcastle’s career in Baltimore.
“He really gets down the line well, he’s a threat,” Hyde said. “It’s been a nice start to his career.”