Ryan Mountcastle
22-Year-Old First Baseman1B
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Mountcastle is a prime example of why team context matters when valuing prospects for dynasty leagues. On any contending team or National League team with solid depth, he wouldn't be assured an audition as a regular. However, Baltimore gave Dwight Smith (-0.8 fWAR) almost 400 plate appearances last year, so Mountcastle should be given regular playing time for several years despite his obvious deficiencies. He is a below-average defender in left field, but that won't stop the O's from giving him time there while also giving him starts as the designated hitter. With a potentially plus hit tool and 4.3 BB% at Triple-A, Mountcastle is much more valuable in AVG leagues than OBP leagues. He could be a 25-homer threat, thanks in part to his home park, but won't be a threat on the bases. It's not an exciting fantasy profile, but he could spend most of 2020 hitting in the top half of the big-league lineup. Read Past Outlooks
Added to 40-man roster
1BBaltimore Orioles
November 20, 2019
Mountcastle was added to the Orioles' 40-man roster Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
Mountcastle's .312/.344/.527 with 25 home runs for Triple-A Norfolk in 2019 prompted some speculation that he could make his major-league debut, but he never reached Baltimore's roster. While his addition to the 40-man roster is mainly to shield him from the Rule 5 draft, it wouldn't be entirely surprising if the 22-year-old reached the majors at some point next season.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Ryan Mountcastle
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
Mountcastle flopped in a 39-game run at Double-A to close 2017, but mastered the level in a return trip. Among qualified Eastern League hitters under 22, only Ke'Bryan Hayes and Brendan Rodgers topped Mountcastle's 121 wRC+. If he were a quality defensive third baseman, the profile would be straightforward, as he should hit enough to profile at the hot corner. Unfortunately, he will likely have to move to left field or DH, which means his bat (potentially plus hit tool with above-average power) needs to max out. Mountcastle's 6.1 BB% was the eighth-worst mark in the Eastern League, but he makes contact at a high clip (18.5 K%) and uses the whole field. A reasonable outcome would be a .280 hitter who hits 20-25 home runs. Fantasy managers would take that production, but if it comes with a low walk rate and below-average defense, most big-league teams would be unsatisfied. Fortunately, the Orioles are not most big-league teams.
Mountcastle had more home runs (18) than walks (17) in 2017, but was still able to break out as a legitimate fantasy prospect thanks to his innate bat-to-ball ability. He led the Carolina League with a .314 average while ranking fifth in home runs (15) and eighth in strikeout rate (16.1 percent), all while being one of the 10 youngest hitters in the league and playing just 88 games prior to a promotion to Double-A. The breakout party came to a screeching halt in the Eastern League, as his walk rate dropped to 1.9 percent, he became much more pull happy (54.8 percent), and simply put too many pitcher's pitches in play. He will head back to Double-A for his age-21 season, with plenty of time to make adjustments at the plate. Evaluators still see a hitter with the potential to flirt with .300 and provide 20-plus homer pop. Unfortunately, he is a below-average runner and doesn't have the arm for shortstop or third base, so left field makes the most sense long term.
Mountcastle was viewed by many as a reach at No. 36 overall in the 2015 first-year player draft, but if he puts it all together, he could be a major league regular at shortstop in three or four years. Standing 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Mountcastle was touted for his raw power coming out of high school, but that raw power did not translate during his first calendar year in professional ball. He slugged just .393 between rookie ball and Low-A Aberdeen in 2015 and managed one home run over the first two months of 2016. Finally, Mountcastle began to put the ball over the fence in June and went on to hit nine homers over the final three months of his age-19 season. He'll need to develop a keener eye and make more consistent contact to have success at the upper levels, and speed is not a part of the package. Still, Mountcastle deserves to be monitored by those in long-term keeper leagues.
The Orioles used a 2015 compensatory pick on Mountcastle. They may have reached a bit in order to sign him under slot, though Mountcastle was a late blooming prospect whose reputation grew only over the year before he was drafted. Mountcastle is widely regarded to possess superior bat speed and profiles with above-average power. As with most players out of high school, Mountcastle's power may not be present, but he is expected to add more muscle over the next few seasons. It will not be surprising to see him retain a higher than average BABIP the way the ball jumps off his bat. Mountcastle started his professional career as a shortstop, but his defense probably will not be enough to stay put and he could move to third base or a corner outfield spot. He posted respectable numbers in Rookie League, earning a 10-game cameo in short-season ball. The Orioles are high on Mountcastle and he is advanced enough to be able to begin the 2016 season at Low-A.
More Fantasy News
Won't debut in 2019
1BBaltimore Orioles
September 2, 2019
Mountcastle will not be promoted to the majors this season, Nathan Ruiz of The Baltimore Sun reports.
ANALYSIS
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Enjoying hot run at Triple-A
1BBaltimore Orioles
July 26, 2019
Mountcastle went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and four RBI in Triple-A Norfolk's 9-7 win over Rochester on Thursday.
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Starting in LF
1BBaltimore Orioles
June 25, 2019
Mountcastle will make his professional debut in the outfield Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk, starting in left field and hitting cleanup.
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Enjoys three-homer day at Triple-A
1BBaltimore Orioles
June 3, 2019
Mountcastle went 3-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI for Triple-A Norfolk in its 11-5 win over Louisville on Sunday.
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Returns to lineup
1BBaltimore Orioles
Wrist
May 31, 2019
Mountcastle (wrist) returned to the lineup at Triple-A Norfolk, his first action since May 24.
ANALYSIS
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