Austin Hays received much of the attention in the Orioles farm system last season, but Ryan Mountcastle wasn't far behind. Now Mountcastle will join his former teammate at the big club's spring camp.
The 20-year-old shortstop was one of 19 non-roster invitees Baltimore will bring to Major League Spring Training, the team announced Thursday. After a solid 2016 campaign at Class A Delmarva, Mountcastle took off last season.
Baltimore's 2015 first-round pick started hot with Class A Advanced Frederick, homering in the team's first game and posting a .330/.358/.585 line with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs through the end of May. He earned a promotion to Double-A Bowie on July 20 and couldn't quite match his early-season success, though he was still effective, batting .281/.319/.426 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 39 games with the Baysox. Overall, he led the Minor Leagues with 48 doubles in 2017.
Video: Bowie's Mountcastle bashes solo homer
He continued to display his power in the Arizona Fall League, blasting three long balls among seven extra-base hits in 82 at-bats. AFL scouts noted that his below-average arm played better at third base, where he shifted following his promotion to Double-A.
Mountcastle had mixed results in the field with Bowie, making six errors and posting a .937 fielding percentage in 37 games at the hot corner. Scouts are concerned about his defense, but his above-average hit tool and above-average power make his bat intriguing.
Outfielders Cedric Mullins and D.J. Stewart also received invites after strong 2017 campaigns.
Mullins hit a scorching .455/.489/.818 with three home runs for Bowie in the first week of the season to earn Player of the Week honors before being sidelined for over a month with a hamstring injury. He finished the year with 13 homers, nine steals and a .778 OPS. Stewart led the Eastern League with 80 runs scored, finished fourth with 79 RBIs and 65 walks and ranked 10th with 21 homers and 20 stolen bases.