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Orioles Prospect Ryan Mountcastle Benefits From Arizona Fall League Experience

November 20, 2017
Orioles prospect Ryan Mountcastle continued his transition from shortstop to third base while playing in the Arizona Fall League, and he said the high level of competition has helped his overall game.

"At the dish I'm starting to feel better with these better pitchers," Mountcastle told Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 17. "I'm starting to get used to different pitches and different counts as opposed to lower levels ... being out here has really showed me a lot."

Each year major league teams bring six of their top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, Mountcastle, a shortstop for the majority of his professional baseball career, is the Orioles' third-ranked prospect, according to Baseball America.

Mountcastle, 20, was moved to third base when called up to Double-A Bowie in July 2017. He admitted it came as a bit of a surprise to him, but he said the position change didn't feel too drastic being that he already played on the left side of the infield. 

"I'm ready to play anywhere, just trying to become more versatile and just play wherever I can make a team," Mountcastle said. "The more positions you can play, the better player you'll be."

With a .244/.287/.402 line in 21 games this fall, Mountcastle said he is working on consistency at the plate.

"[I'm working on] getting good plate discipline and getting my pitch to hit and not trying to chase out of the zone," Mountcastle said. "I've always been a pretty free swinger."

 Mountcastle said seeing other guys get the big-league call from Double-A is encouraging.

"You start to see how close you really are," Mountcastle said. "It definitely makes you want to work harder."

Outfielder Austin Hays was an example of that happening this past season. Hays, the Orioles' third-round pick in 2016, had a .329/.365/.593 line across High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie last season before getting the call-up to the Orioles late this season. 

Mountcastle's line was .222/.239/.366 in 39 games with the Baysox, but he has a .286/.317/.448 career line in the minors, including 28 home runs during the past two years. 

With Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's contract set to expire after the 2018 season, Mountcastle said he isn't thinking too far ahead about his potential path to the majors. 

"I just go out there and try to play hard every day and whatever happens, happens," Mountcastle said. "Whatever [the Orioles] want to do with me is up to them." 
For more from Mountcastle, listen to the full interview here: