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Is it time to consider demoting Mountcastle?


MurphDogg

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Ryan Mountcastle has been better in May with a .263/.293/.434 line compared with the .198/.229/.286 he carried through April.

That said, those numbers are still not good enough for a bat first corner outfielder / DH / first baseman.

He has accrued -1.0 rWAR and -0.7 fWAR to this point in the season and he frequently has at-bats where he isn't competitive. He looks lost at the plate at times and he is adding nothing defensively. His k/bb ratio is 8/1 in May and nearly 8/1 on the season.

DJ Stewart is batting .256/.385/.488 in May. Santander is back and hitting well, Mullins isn't doing what he was doing through April, he still looks worthy of a starting centerfield spot at this point, and Hays will likely be back from the IL as soon as he is eligible.

I'm not saying that Stewart is a long term piece, but he at least looks like more of a big leaguer at this point than Mountcastle does, and I'm not sure sending Mountcastle down would be the worst thing for his development.

Would it make sense for Mountcastle to get a breather out of the bright lights of the Majors and go down to Norfolk where he can play the outfield every day and find his groove offensively? Even if he was hitting, he still needs more reps in the corner outfield if he ever hopes to play there other than in an emergency / non-DH game, and I don't want him to wait until next February to get regular reps in the outfield.

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4 minutes ago, MurphDogg said:

Ryan Mountcastle has been better in May with a .263/.293/.434 line compared with the .198/.229/.286 he carried through April.

That said, those numbers are still not good enough for a bat first corner outfielder / DH / first baseman.

He has accrued -1.0 rWAR and -0.7 fWAR to this point in the season and he frequently has at-bats where he isn't competitive. He looks lost at the plate at times and he is adding nothing defensively. His k/bb ratio is 8/1 in May and nearly 8/1 on the season.

DJ Stewart is batting .256/.385/.488 in May. Santander is back and hitting well, Mullins isn't doing what he was doing through April, he still looks worthy of a starting centerfield spot at this point, and Hays will likely be back from the IL as soon as he is eligible.

I'm not saying that Stewart is a long term piece, but he at least looks like more of a big leaguer at this point than Mountcastle does, and I'm not sure sending Mountcastle down would be the worst thing for his development.

Would it make sense for Mountcastle to get a breather out of the bright lights of the Majors and go down to Norfolk where he can play the outfield every day and find his groove offensively? Even if he was hitting, he still needs more reps in the corner outfield if he ever hopes to play there other than in an emergency / non-DH game, and I don't want him to wait until next February to get regular reps in the outfield.

I guess it comes down to what is best for his long term future.   Considering that he has shown signs of hitting major league pitching better in May than he was in April, I would like to see if he can keep adjusting and improving at the major league level.  And yeah, while technically we have 6 guys for 5 spots (RM, CM, DJS, AS, TM, and AH for LF/CF/RF/DH/1B), the fact that those guys have never all been healthy in the majors together except for 3 games at Nats Park last weekend means that it's not like we have an odd-man-out situation.   He can get plenty of playing time.   And I have no problem with putting him in LF once in a while, either when Hays is hurt which happens quite a bit, or when Stewart is sitting vs a LHP.   He may hurt us and cost us a few games out there, but so what.  

So I understand why you might see some good in it, but I think he needs to keep trying to make adjustments vs major league hitting.   If he goes to the minors and hits well, what does that prove?   That he can hit AAA pitching.   That's nice.   But in the end his career is going to be based on how well he hits major league pitching, and there's only one place to really work on that.

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4 minutes ago, SteveA said:

So I understand why you might see some good in it, but I think he needs to keep trying to make adjustments vs major league hitting.   If he goes to the minors and hits well, what does that prove?   That he can hit AAA pitching.   That's nice.   But in the end his career is going to be based on how well he hits major league pitching, and there's only one place to really work on that.

By this definition, no player should ever be demoted to the minors on a team that doesn't have World Series aspirations, and yet it happens all the time and those players can and do come back and have success in the Majors.

In my opinion, at some point a young player who is struggling enough should be demoted for developmental reasons, not just because another player gives the team a better chance to win. The question is whether Mountcastle is at that point. An 8/1 strikeout ratio even when showing signs of hitting MLB pitching makes me think we may have reached that point.

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Just now, MurphDogg said:

By this definition, no player should ever be demoted to the minors on a team that doesn't have World Series aspirations, and yet it happens all the time and those players can and do come back and have success in the Majors.

In my opinion, at some point a young player who is struggling enough should be demoted for developmental reasons, not just because another player gives the team a better chance to win. The question is whether Mountcastle is at that point. An 8/1 strikeout ratio even when showing signs of hitting MLB pitching makes me think we may have reached that point.

I guess the question is whether he is "struggling enough".   He has hit better in May than in April.

 

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4 minutes ago, SteveA said:

I guess the question is whether he is "struggling enough".   He has hit better in May than in April.

I think his BABIP is inflated, a .293 OBP is obviously not enough and his k/bb ratio would be terrible even if it were cut in half. At some point, it is worth considering.

I want him to succeed but some of his at bats are quite painful to watch.

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25 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

No

Cool. Thanks for the insight. Tell me more about how Hays will be on the IL for weeks.

At what point will it be worth considering demoting Mountcastle? If his k/bb ratio goes to 12/1?

Should he get a full season of MLB at-bats no matter how poorly he plays?

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As you mentioned in the OP, he's gotten better.  He's still not raking, but he's shown improvement.  I'd still like to see him try to figure this out at the ML level.   

I'd thought about sending him down earlier this season but I've changed my mind.  He needs to work it out here.  He's shown that he can hit minor league pitching, I don't necessarily see how that would help him.  He needs to get back on track at this level.

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2 minutes ago, OsFanSinceThe80s said:

Hays is hurt again and Mountcastle has put up a .763 OPS in May. I say he stays and want to see if his hitting improves with more playing time. 

He has put up a .727 OPS in May, which is coincidentally the same as his career MLB OPS.

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10 minutes ago, Moose Milligan said:

I'd thought about sending him down earlier this season but I've changed my mind.  He needs to work it out here.  He's shown that he can hit minor league pitching, I don't necessarily see how that would help him.  He needs to get back on track at this level.

What changed your mind? The grand slam? The one time this season (April 30 - May 1st) he went consecutive starts without striking out? I almost started this thread a month ago but wanted to wait but my mind hasn't been changed.

He just doesn't look comfortable at the plate to me, I hope continued at-bats will fix it but I'm just not convinced. He is fine when he makes contact, but there are some at-bats where he may as well be carrying an umbrella up there.

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Just now, MurphDogg said:

What changed your mind? The grand slam? The one time this season (April 30 - May 1st) he went consecutive starts without striking out?

He just doesn't look comfortable at the plate to me, I hope continued at-bats will fix it but I'm just not convinced. He is fine when he makes contact, but there are some at-bats where he may as well be carrying an umbrella up there.

I'll agree, he's looked lost at the plate at times.  It was a couple games ago or so where he swung and missed on a slider that wasn't even close to the zone.  I mean, it was bad...he wasn't in the same zip code.

What changed my mind is that there's been some improvement, as you noted.  Yeah, he's not lighting it up like he did last year when he came up, but that's okay, IMO.  So if he's getting a little better, now's not the time to send him down.  

He's not nearly in the same class as Vlad Jr, but both franchises regard their respective prospects as important contributors.  Vlad Jr. didn't light it up as a rookie and he wasn't impressive last year but he's killing it this year, arguably the best hitter in the majors.  The Jays stuck with him, it's paid off.

Now again, Mountcastle isn't projected to be the same type of hitter that Vlad Jr. is.  And Vlad Jr, even when he wasn't lighting it up, hasn't looked as bad as Mountcastle has.  But I think there's something to be said for recognizing when a guy has nothing left to prove in the minors and you let him figure it out in the majors.  

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