The Orioles are likely to select the contract of outfielder Mason Williams to join the club as a September call-up, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (link). However, it doesn’t seem as though top prospect Ryan Mountcastle will get the opportunity to make his MLB debut this month (Twitter link).
Mountcastle, a 2015 supplemental rounder (36th overall) ranks among the organization’s top five prospects and has had a productive season in Triple-A, hitting .310/.343/.527 with 25 homers, 35 doubles and one triple through 548 plate appearances. He also comes with significant concerns about his defense and is regarded by some as a prospect without a true position on the field. Scouting reports from Fangraphs, MLB.com and Baseball America all agree that Mountcastle’s bat alone should make him a big league regular, but each notes that his throwing issues continue to push him down the defensive spectrum. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs liken his profile as a bat-first regular with huge defensive questions to that of Nicholas Castellanos.
It’s not clear whether a desire for further defensive refinement or a preference not to begin Mountcastle’s service clock is the driving factor behind the decision not to bring him to Camden Yards; most likely, both are factors. Regardless of his ultimate defensive home, Mountcastle seems likely to emerge in the big leagues next season, but his omission from the team’s expanded September roster is no doubt a bitter pill for fans who were hoping for a glimpse of the future in 2019. It’s been a trying season for Orioles fans, who’ve seen their club win the second-fewest games in Major League Baseball.
In Williams, 28, the Orioles will take a look at a top-prospect-turned-journeyman who has enjoyed a nice season in Triple-A Norfolk, where he’s batted .309/.372/.481 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles, three triples, and four stolen bases. The grandson of former big leaguer Walt Williams, the lefty-swinging outfielder was originally a fourth-round pick of the Yankees organization back in the 2010 Rule IV draft. Once ranked as the game’s 74th-best prospect by MLB.com prior to the 2012 season, Williams has shown some glimpses in limited big league action, with a .289/.325/.396 (93 wRC+) output across 200 at-bats split between the Yankees and Reds rosters since his MLB debut in 2016. Williams signed a minor league deal with Baltimore this past March.