Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 9 RBI.
It’s tough to knock in nine runs in a week let alone on a Tuesday. Ryan Mountcastle did just that racking up nine RBIs, on two home runs, one being a grand slam, a sac fly, and a single. Nine RBIs in one game does not happen often and has only happened twice in Orioles history by Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Diamond Jim Gentile. Needless to say, Ryan Mountcastle has joined some notable company. If only he could have hit 10 RBIs in a game to join illustrious MLB names like Scooter Gennett and Mark Reynolds. So close but not quite Scooter Gennett, story of my life.
This is the third Oriole we have profiled here on Batter’s Box and it’s not even mid-April. The Baltimore Bombers are really making a name for themself and seeing Mountcastle at the center of it all shows how deep these young Orioles are. Orioles fan or not, it’s a lot of fun to see them turn a corner after a few difficult rebuild years.
And since everyone asked, the Mount Rushmore of the best Baltimore Orioles players, based only on name:
Mike Boddicker, Milt “Gimpy” Pappas, Boog Powell, B. J. Surhoff.
Did I miss anyone?
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Luis Arraez (MIA): 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Luis Arraez hit a cycle tonight. A cycle. The first in Marlins’ history. I was close to showcasing the young Marlin but 9 RBIs are hard to avoid. I might be one of the few but I loved the Luis Arraez trade for the Marlins and already, he is showing why Marlins GM Kim Ng paid a premium for him. Arraez’s contact skills are second to none and something that you cannot teach. He is a perfect fit for the offensive-starved Marlins team and now, thanks to Arraez, they have a player who has hit for the cycle.
Austin Hays (BAL): 4-5, 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI.
I have to showcase one other Oriole here, even though I could mention nearly their whole lineup. With lefty Kyle Muller on the bump for the Oakland Athletics, Austin Hays got the nod for the leadoff spot tonight (as a Cedric Mullins fantasy owner, why are you doing this to me, Brandon Hyde?). He did not disappoint in the role with a home run, a double, and two singles while scoring four runs and knocking in two. I think it’s safe to say his wrist is feeling good, a fantastic sign for the Orioles moving forward.
Nelson Velázquez (CHC): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Nelson Velázquez was called up to the Cubs yesterday and played in his first game of the year Tuesday. A grand slam, a double, and a single is a nice greeting back in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Velázquez, still just 24, hasn’t quite figured out the MLB yet, showcasing a less-than-ideal 2022. But the exit velocity numbers on his double, 111.4, and the home run, 101.1, are both very encouraging. It might be one flash-in-the-pan game, but this could be the start of something. Keep an eye on Velázquez.
Tommy Edman (STL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
The Cardinals and Tommy Edman are where the beer flows like wine to start the week, Colorado. They lost game one but the Cardinals brought their bats in game two, with Edman leading the way. He’s been moved up in the lineup to the two-hole and has rewarded the move, especially tonight, with a three-hit effort including a home run and a double. The Cardinals have sputtered a bit out of the gate but this team is too talented not to contend. Edman will be at the center of a great team in St. Louis.
Ty France (SEA): 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Can we talk about Ty France? Are others talking about Ty France? Cause Ty France has been really good in the early goings. The Mariners look like the contenders many thought right out of the gate and like Edman for the Cardinals, France is an underrated piece in a stacked lineup. So far France has shown consistent on-base skills throughout his career with the ability to drive the ball out of the park when needed. It appears he is healthy which makes him a lot of fun to watch in that lineup. Please remain healthy Ty France, signed me, as well as probably many other people.
Dansby Swanson (CHC): 4-4, R, 2 RBI.
Dansby Swanson looks pretty comfortable in a Chicago Cubs uniform, doesn’t he? Certain guys, when they go to a new team and put on their new threads, just look perfect. Swanson has been a tremendous add for the North Siders and tonight was no exception with a 4-4 effort. He did leave late in the game due to cramping, but it looks like he is okay. The NL Central is supposed to be a weaker division this year but no one told that to the 7-4 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs may need some help at the deadline but so far, with Dansby leading the charge, they’ve looked much improved.
Elias Díaz (COL): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
A quick hit but Elias Díaz is on a tear right now and I needed to bring it up. His last seven-game slash line is super not bad, .429/.520/.762. He has shown in the past that he has the ability to get hot and seeing it to start the season is encouraging for a team that doesn’t have much to be encouraged about. Also, someone tackled Dinger!
Josh Lowe (TB): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
I think it’s happening. I’m not certain it’s happening but I think it’s happening. What’s happening, Seth? Why, the Josh Lowe breakout is happening, dear reader. Still, just 25, Josh Lowe is starting to show signs of life at the MLB level. A sock and a shoe tonight to go with an early .364/.417/.682 slash (yes that is in limited play but let’s get excited!) Lowe has looked the part. Jose Siri went down with a hamstring issue which means more playing time for Lowe. The Rays groove to their own beat so maybe it doesn’t mean that, but in his limited time, he has played so well that it would be hard to keep him out of the lineup.
Spencer Steer (CIN): 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
I always like seeing young players take the next step, everyone does except maybe the Rockies front office. Spencer Steer looks to be taking that step. A three-hit performance on Tuesday and Steer is off to a nice start in 2023. The sample size is still small, but it is for everyone. What can be seen with Steer is how comfortable he has looked at the plate to begin the year and that is extremely encouraging. The Reds need some players to step up, Nick Lodolo can’t pitch every day. Steer, like Lowe, may be close to those two sweet words that in this case is one word, breakout.
Ji Hwan Bae (PIT): 1-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Late addition, I forgot Ji Hwan Bae! Thanks to cathead_007 for pointing this out. But Elias stays, the man’s been hot! As mentioned before, the Pirates were supposed to be pretty bad this year and so far, they have looked surprisingly solid. Hwan Bae is a pup at 23 and has so far been up and down in 2023. However, Tuesday night he cranked a 3-run walk-off home run against Ryan Pressly and the defending champs. The jolly roger was raised and there was much rejoicing. The Pirates could surprise people this year. Bryan Reynolds is a star and they added some solid veterans to their roster. It’s a long season, anything can happen, but seeing some early-season success from the Buccos will help the city of Pittsburgh break out of its long winter hibernation.
We get a middling Rockies C blurb but nothing on Ji-Hwan Bae’s walkoff 3 run bomb against the Stros???
A shockingly random smattering of players
Inexcusable to not mention Kelenic either of the last two days. This is a 6+ WAR player if he’s actually breaking out.
Nice game for Nelson V, but hard to see where he fits in when Suzuki returns to join Happ and Bellinger in the OF – possibly some AB at DH along with the Mancini/Hosmer 1B/DH rotation, but Mervis is knocking on the door there too.