Over the years a multitude of successful Baltimore Orioles players have developed with the Delmarva Shorebirds and Ryan Mountcastle is another name you can add to that list. Known for his hitting ability and raw power, the 25-year-old Mountcastle has changed positions since embarking on his professional career. Originally starting
Over the years a multitude of successful Baltimore Orioles players have developed with the Delmarva Shorebirds and Ryan Mountcastle is another name you can add to that list. Known for his hitting ability and raw power, the 25-year-old Mountcastle has changed positions since embarking on his professional career. Originally starting in the minors at shortstop, Mountcastle was seemingly more comfortable and productive once he got playing time at first and third base. Coming in hot for the Orioles as a rookie in 2020, Mountcastle posted a .333 batting average and hit 5 home runs, which helped carve a permanent spot for himself on the roster. Despite the shortened 2020 season, Mountcastle had an electric rookie season and received Rookie of The Year votes. After playing in 35 games during the shortened 2020 season, his first season in Baltimore, Mountcastle has not slowed down and his future looks bright, but it is important to see how his baseball journey has led him to the O’s.
Growing up in Florida, a competitive state for high school baseball, Mountcastle played at Hagerty High School starting at shortstop in 2011. Already 6’4 and 184 pounds his large frame and power potential had scouts excited. Climbing up the prospect rankings, Mountcastle was a tantalizing young talent listed as the #2 SS in Florida and #34 overall national prospect, he capped off his junior year being named a 2014 All-American Classic Player. As a senior, Mountcastle had his sights set on college baseball, planning on staying in his home state as he committed to the University of Central Florida.
Mountcastle never made it to UCF, when the Orioles selected him 36th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft. Mountcastle passed on attending UCF, instead signing with the orioles for a $1.3 million signing bonus and started his professional career. That summer, Mountcastle was assigned to his first pro team, the Gulf Coast League Orioles, where he remained the consistent offensive weapon he was in high school. The Orioles organization decided to promote him after playing just 43 games professionally, assigning him to the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the New York-Pennsylvania League to end the season. Mountcastle’s hitting numbers in GCL were impressive, where he batted .313 AVG, putting up 14 RBIs, and scoring 21 Runs. These numbers earned Mountcastle another call up to begin 2016, this time being assigned to the Delmarva Shorebirds.
Mountcastle saw immediate success for the Shorebirds. At the time the 19-year-old had never played more than 53 games in a season, his first season in Delmarva saw him play in more than double his career total, 115 games. Mountcastle became an integral part of the batting lineup for the Shorebirds, putting up career highs in runs with 53 and a .426 slugging percentage, all while having a .281 AVG. The Florida native was part of the reason why the 2016 Shorebirds finished 4th in the South Atlantic League, ending the season at 73-66. Mountcastle continued his journey through the O’s system beginning in 2018 with the Frederick Keys of the High A Carolina League.
Domination is the best possible way to describe Mountcastle’s tenure in Frederick. Quickly adjusting to the speed of the game, Mountcastle batted an eye popping .314/.343/.542 in 88 games. Making waves in the Baltimore organization, Mountcastle’s 63 runs and 15 homers made it an easy decision to call him up to Double-A at just 20 years old. Spending the rest of the 2017 season (39 games) in a Baysox uniform, Mountcastle’s production tailed off as he got used to the level of play. Mountcastle remains with the Baysox for all of 2018. Mountcastle’s numbers picked up from the previous season, his batting average went from .222 to .297, he scored 45 more runs, and he more than tripled his HR total with 13. Mountcastle’s shift from SS to 1B and 3B coincided with an improved second season on Bowie, which earned him a trip to the 2018 Futures Game. Following his 2018 season with Bowie, Mountcastle was called up to Triple-A joining Norfolk Tides.
At 22 years old, Mountcastle promptly got accustomed to the fast-paced Triple-A game. Turning into an offensive juggernaut with Norfolk, Mountcastle shattered expectations, putting up professional career highs yet again earning multiple accolades along the way. After batting .312 AVG, notching 25 homers, and driving in 81 runs Mountcastle received the International League MVP and the Orioles’ Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of The Year Award. There was only one possible step left for the heavy hitter in his baseball ascension, the majors and the Baltimore Orioles.
Mountcastle burst onto the scene in 2020 after making his way onto the 40-man roster. He has not looked back following his shortened first season notching 78 runs, hitting 34 homers, and batting .274 avg since 2021. The 25-year-old only seems to be getting better with each season as he grows as a player. A star that began to shine bright for Delmarva has not shown any signs of stopping since moving up to the bigs. Even though his time in a Shorebirds uniform was brief, his run on the Eastern Shore was invaluable to his development on his path to being an essential part of the young core that will breathe life back into an Orioles organization in a rebuild.