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First Base Presents New Challenge, Opportunity For Orioles Prospect Ryan Mountcastle

April 11, 2019
The Baltimore Orioles' lineup desperately needs production from first base, and maybe that's why a top prospect is learning the position. 

Infielder Ryan Mountcastle, who played third base last season in Double-A Bowie, has been moved across the diamond to first base at Triple-A Norfolk to open the season. 

"This is my first time playing the right side of the infield, so some of the double plays are a little weird and tricky," Mountcastle said on Glenn Clark Radio April 1. "But I just have to go out there and work hard at batting practice, taking extra ground balls, and just try to get more comfortable with each position." 

Mountcastle, Baltimore's first-round pick in the 2015 draft, was reassigned to Norfolk March 10 during big league spring training. He's rated as the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline (No. 70 overall), but he doesn't let the hype surrounding him affect his game.

"It's an honor to have that belief from the fans and all the writers and stuff like that, but I don't usually ever think about it," he said. "I just go out there and play every day, and that's all I can do."

Mountcastle hit .297/.341/.464 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs in 102 games with the Baysox last season. Now the 22-year-old is looking forward to taking the next step. He's reached base in seven of his first 26 plate appearances with the Tides, and he drove in a run with his first hit.

"If I play well this year I'll get called up," he said. "Feels like I'm pretty close to making it up there. I'm pretty excited."

There's good reason for excitement: An opening may soon exist for Mountcastle in the majors. 

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis continues to struggle mightily at the plate. He has yet to record a hit in 33 plate appearances this season while striking out 15 times, as of April 11. Davis has struck out more than 190 times in each of the past four seasons, leading the league in two of those years. 

Until he gets the call, Mountcastle is focused on playing his game.

"I just want to stay level-headed," he said. "When I just go out there and have fun, play my game and play hard, that's when I play my best."

For more from Mountcastle, listen to the full interview here: