WASHINGTON—Ryan Mountcastle, the Orioles’ top power hitting prospect, has been named the International League’s Most Valuable Player.
Mountcastle, who enters Tuesday’s Norfolk game batting .308 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs, leads the International League with 153 hits.
The 22-year-old, who was the 36th overall pick in the 2015 draft, is the first Norfolk Tide to be named MVP since Norfolk became an Oriole affiliate in 2007.
“He’s had a really nice year up until this point,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’d just like to see him continue to improve. One thing that we’ve prioritized was his defense and he’s improved at first base, and now he’s getting some time in left field.
“All the reports that I’m getting is that he’s making a lot of improvements defensively as well.”
DJ Stewart, who was drafted ahead of Mountcastle in 2015, has watched Mountcastle’s career with interest.
“He knows how to hit,” Stewart said. “He had a little bit of trouble early on, but he adjusted to it quickly. He’s never wavered because he’s a good hitter and a good player.
“He’s shown everyone in that league that not only is he a dangerous bat, but he’s a big part of that team.”
Injury updates: Hanser Alberto, who left Sunday’s game with a cervical/neck strain, and Renato Nunez, who departed with a hamstring injury, are both in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals.
Alberto was trying to steal second in the third inning, and on his slide, Tampa Bay second baseman Eric Sogard hit him with his shin on the side of his head while Sogard’s knee hit the back of his head.
“I got hit pretty good—twice,” Alberto said. “I got a headache right away. Then like an hour afterwards, I was fine.”
Alberto passed concussion tests.
The Orioles had a day off on Monday, but Alberto said he could have played.
Mark Trumbo, who has yet to play this season after right knee surgery, is beginning a rehab assignment at Norfolk. He’s the designated hitter for the Tides, and hopes to be activated when the rosters expand on Saturday.
Minor matters: Delmarva right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Outstanding Prospect as well as the top right-handed starter on the league’s All-Star team.
Infielder Adam Hall was selected as the utility infielder. Manager Kyle Moore and pitching coach Justin Ramsey were also singled out.
Moore was also named as a coach on the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.