When baseball resumes, Ryan Mountcastle looks to be ticketed for a second tour of the International League.On Thursday, the Orioles revealed that their fourth-ranked prospect was among four players optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Outfielder Cedric Mullins, infielder Ramón Urías and right-hander David Hess also were reassigned.
When baseball resumes, Ryan Mountcastle looks to be ticketed for a second tour of the International League.
On Thursday, the Orioles revealed that their fourth-ranked prospect was among four players optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Outfielder Cedric Mullins, infielder Ramón Urías and right-hander David Hess also were reassigned.
Mountcastle saw significant playing time for the second consecutive spring. The No. 94 overall prospect had eight hits in 34 at-bats with a homer, three doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored in the Grapefruit League. A former shortstop, Mountcastle manned left field for all but one game, in which he played first base.
The 23-year-old also began last season at the Major Leagues’ doorstep. Mountcastle batted .312/.344/.527 while posting career highs in homers (25) and RBIs (83) for Norfolk in 2019. His 35 doubles for the Tides marked the third time in the past four years that he eclipsed 25 doubles, with his 48 two-baggers in 2017 standing as his career high.
Although there was a surge in power, Mountcastle’s strikeout rate climbed to 23.5 percent with a career-high 130 whiffs.
The defensive transformation was ramped up last year as well. He played nine games at third base after manning the hot corner exclusively for 83 games the prior year. Mountcastle played the lion’s share of his innings at first last summer, but his spring workload suggested he’ll be used in a more versatile role moving forward.
Hess and Mullins saw time with the big league club each of the past two seasons. Hess sports a 5.84 ERA in 183 1/3 innings in the Majors. He appeared more as a reliever in Norfolk last season, amassing a 4.57 ERA in 41 1/3 innings.
Mullins collected 170 at-bats for the Orioles in 2018, then split time between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk last season, along with 22 games in Baltimore. The 25-year-old batted .233 with 31 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs in the Minors.
Urias hadn’t been with the Orioles long before being reassigned. The 25-year-old signed with the Rangers in 2010, then became a star in the Mexican League for five seasons. He inked a deal with the Cardinals in 2018 and reached Triple-A Memphis last season. St. Louis designated the 5-foot-10, 150-pound infielder for assignment on Feb. 6, and he was claimed by Baltimore five days later.
Cardinals reassign four to Minors camp
St. Louis also restructured its rosters Thursday, optioning Jake Woodford, the club’s No. 12 prospect, No. 17 Justin Williams, No. 20 Edmundo Sosa and outfielder Austin Dean to Memphis. All four players previously have played in the Pacific Coast League and are on the club’s 40-man roster.
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @Gerard_Gilberto.