Mountcastle's rookie status; Fall frenzy; Hall of Famers lost -

Rich Dubroff

Mountcastle’s rookie status; Fall frenzy; Hall of Famers lost

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon

Ryan Mountcastle might get some votes for the American League Rookie of the Year award. He also might be a favorite for the award next year, too.

Mountcastle, who played in 35 of the Orioles’ 60 games this season (60 percent), remains eligible in next year’s voting because he fell four at-bats short of the 130 needed to end his rookie status.

A rookie position player must accumulate 130 at-bats or remain on the active roster for 45 days to lose rookie status. Those 45 days must exclude time in September when there’s an expanded roster. (This year that provision didn’t apply because players weren’t added in September.)

Mountcastle was called up on August 21st, so he falls seven days short of the 45 days. He had 140 plate appearances, but it’s the at-bats that count, not plate appearances.

In those 140 trips to the plate, Mountcastle drew 11 walks, had two sacrifice flies and was hit by a pitch once. He walked once every 12.7 times to the plate. In 2019, his final minor league season, Mountcastle walked 24 times in 553 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk. That’s once every 23 times or about half as often.

Because Mountcastle’s plate discipline improved, he’s rewarded with another opportunity at the Rookie of the Year in 2021.

If Mountcastle wins the award, he would be ineligible in 2021. Otherwise, he’ll have to endure the end-of-season rookie dress-up tradition, which I assume the Orioles bypassed this year. There’s a baseball tradition in which rookies are made to wear silly costumes at the beginning of the last road trip of each season, but if Mountcastle has another strong season next year, I don’t think he’ll mind participating.

Mountcastle was named to Baseball America’s All-Rookie team, and he’s the only one of the eight American Leaguers on the team who will be eligible next year.

Seattle outfielder Kyle Lewis was considered the favorite in 2020 because of a hot start, but he had a rough September. Lewis hit just .143 last month to finish with a .262 average, an on-base average of .364 and a .437 slugging average. His OPS average of .801 in 58 games is below Mountcastle’s .878.


Because he did play a full season with the Mariners, Lewis, who hit 11 homers and drove in 28 runs, will have the advantage over Mountcastle, who hit five homers and had 23 RBIs.

It’s been common for players who didn’t begin the season with their club to win Rookie of the Year. In 2019, Houston’s Yordan Álvarez didn’t debut until June 9 when he homered against the Orioles. He was unanimously elected Rookie of the Year, but that was for a 162-game season.

Fall frenzy: Because of the short season, Major League Baseball negotiated a 16-team postseason with the Players Association, and they’d like to keep one of 12 or 14 teams for next year and beyond.

Difficult talks are expected, but if more money comes the players’ way, they’ll probably agree.

I watched a chunk of each game in the wild-card round, including the eight games on Wednesday. While I was there for the noon start for Cincinnati-Atlanta, I wasn’t there past midnight for the end of the Yankees-Indians and Brewers-Dodgers game.

I thought it was a lot of fun and, since I can watch baseball during the day, afternoon playoff games are appealing.

But the final game of the White Sox-Athletics series was brutal. None of the 17 pitchers used for both teams pitched more than two innings.

I did enjoy hearing Oakland centerfielder Ramón Laureano’s comments, although some were offended by the language. I couldn’t imagine media-friendly Buck Showalter allowing any of his players to be mic’d up, and I recall he wasn’t exactly a fan of being interviewed during the games.

Since the Orioles played only five of the 16 teams involved in the initial rounds, I had to do lots of studying on the seven Central teams that have been eliminated.

The Orioles last played the White Sox on May 1, 2019 and won’t see them until May 27, 2021. They will have played six games against Miami during that time.

Hall of Famers lost: Besides 2020 being a sad year for everyone, it’s been an awful year for Baseball Hall of Famers.

In the last six months, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline and Tom Seaver have died.

Gibson’s death was announced shortly after his St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated by the San Diego Padres on Friday.

Brock, Kaline and Seaver would have fit into contemporary baseball, but many pointed out that Gibson’s aggressive style of pitching inside would not be tolerated these days.

Despite his reputation, Gibson never led the National League in hit batsman and hit only 102 of the more than 16,000 he faced in his 17-year career.

He would have been a superior pitcher in any era, and his aggressiveness would be welcome today.

Gibson pitched a complete game in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series against the Yankees. He gave up two home runs in the ninth inning as the Yankees narrowed the Cardinals’ lead to 7-5.

After the game, reporters asked St. Louis manager Johnny Keane why he left a tiring Gibson in the game.

“I had a commitment to his heart,” Keane said.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. The Cartoon Bird

    October 5, 2020 at 8:34 am

    When I think about Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, I think of October 1964 by David Halberstam. Great book about those two men and their contributions towards the Cardinals, the MLBPA, and baseball.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 11:39 am

      It was an excellent book, Bird.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 5, 2020 at 8:49 am

    This is the 1st I’ve heard of Gibson’s passing. RIP Mr. Gibson. Never saw him pitch except in highlights. Certainly would have loved to. From what I’ve read of him, he’s exactly the type of man I would have loved to have had on my team.

    Also … Mountcastle … sorry to hear he won’t be a 2 time ROY after all. What a gyp. I was hoping that baseball would have been put in that pickle.

  3. Orial

    October 5, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Excellent writeup Rich. You covered the room from A to Z. Mountcastle being ROY eligible for next season—good. Let’s put all our marbles in that basket and move on. The walk ratio may have been the most impressive part of his game. I’m of the older generation but have somehow accepted and actually like the expanded playoffs. A “March Madness” type round robin might be what the sport needs to get interest up with the younger fans. If they can bet on it(another modern epidemic)they’ll like it. Think the extra inning rule is also a keeper. Yes in the best interest of MLB and it’s fading “old time” appeal I’m ready to jump on the bandwagon and move the game on. Finally– Gibson on the heels of Brock and Seaver. Sad,terrible,my generation. Other than Koufax Gibson was the best I ever saw.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Thank you, Orial.

  4. Rob IsraOsFan

    October 5, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Hoping Ryan wins ROY in 2021…I will be pulling for him. It will, however, be interesting to see how well Mountcastle performs playing in front of “live” fans (hopefully sometime in 2021, but not counting on it). I do expect him to impress in front of the home crowd, but it might be a bit rocky for him in the Bronx and also with a green monster lurking behind him in left field.

  5. Nellie

    October 5, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I agree, losing these HOFers, who played the game the right way, is tough for us “long-timers”.
    However, I see mentioned that baseball fans rate Koufax higher than Gibson more often than not, and I can’t figure out why. While Sandy was terrific, Gibby was superior in my view. He was a much better hitter which was important in the good old days when pitchers hit and often went nine innings. He also was outstanding defensively (9 gold gloves to zero). While both were 2 time World Series MVP’s, Hoot was 7-2 and Koufax was 4-3 in the postseason.
    Maybe it’s media and big city bias.

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      October 5, 2020 at 11:39 am

      Nellie, I am definitely not an expert in the “Koufax vs. Gibson” debate, but your hypothesis of media/big city bias might very well be underlying factors here.

      The below link is a good read from April of earlier this year…the author, Mike Lupica, also makes a strong case for Juan Marichal as one of the best from the 1960’s. Would have loved to have seen any of these three stars pitch.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Nellie, Koufax and Gibson had awesome careers, just very different ones. Koufax had five outstanding seasons at the end of his career, where he led the National League in ERA each year. Please look up those numbers from 1962-1966. He had 382 strikeouts in 1965. In 1963, he had 11 shutouts. In each year, there were mindboggling numbers.

      Gibson had the lowest ERA of alltime in 1968, 1.12 with 13 shutouts, he wasn’t quite as dominant as Koufax was in those years.

      As for hitting, Gibson hit .206, Koufax .097, but that’s minor. That never stopped Koufax from hitting for himself in a close game.

      Both were great, but at his peak, Koufax was better. Over the long haul, Gibson was better.

      Appreciate that both were among the greatest pitchers in history.

      • Birdman

        October 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

        Rich, I think Koufax’s career was analogous to that of the recently deceased Gayle Sayers in the NFL. Both Koufax and Sayers had their careers cut short by injuries, but for the 5 or 6 years that they were at their peak, they may have been the greatest of all time at their positions.

  6. CalsPals

    October 5, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Interesting article Rich, hate to see Mountcastle & Rutschman (hint, hint) take votes from each other next year, but I am quite sure Adley will get “Mountcastled” next year, would have loved to see Gibson pitch against todays teams, especially the Astros…go O’s…

    • Raymo

      October 5, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      Yes!! A little revenge would be extracted, and deserved.

  7. Bhoffman1

    October 5, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I saw Gibson pitch many many times the one word I can describe is intimidating. He made the hitters afraid of him. As for Seaver the one word is master. Every time he pitched it was like watching a master class on pitching .

  8. willmiranda

    October 5, 2020 at 11:48 am

    All the kind words about Mountcastle obfuscate the fact that the O’s blundered by bringing him up so late. Perhaps they would have had to pay a $50 bonus in his contract for being ROY. The pettifoggery about at-bats and plate-appearances, especially during a truncated season, should be seen for the absurdity that it is. The man deserved to have started the season with the team and should be seen as a returning veteran for next year. It is also unfair to next year’s real rookies competing for the prize. We should be looking for Mountcastle to aim at being an All-Star and eventually an MVP, as he was at Norfolk. But, so far, the team has shown only low expectations for the young man.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Dang Will .. You’ve got me wearing out the servers this morning!

      And HELL yeah, he should have been on the team from jump. But the boy genius was still in Tank mode then. I’m not sure he’s out of it yet? So if Rutschman is what they tell us he is, and if he performed in Bowie this summer as they say he did, there’s no reason in my mind that he shouldn’t start next year in the Bigs. But I’m not betting the mortgage that he will be.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      Will, I don’t believe there are incentive clauses in contracts for players not eligible for free agency.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 5, 2020 at 1:12 pm

        Rich …I’ve never heard that before …. would you please elaborate? Only FA eligible players get incentive clauses? I don’t understand.

      • willmiranda

        October 5, 2020 at 2:24 pm

        Thanks, Rich. But did you run this by Scott Boras? I’ll bet he finds ways. Have to tip my hat to him over Davis, taking long-term security over incentives. Appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 1:20 pm

      Ken, clubs only give incentive clauses when there is genuine competition for players’ services. Clubs control players until they have six years of service time. Some free agents don’t have incentive clauses. Davis has no incentive clauses, Cobb has a $500,000 bonus if he pitches 180 innings in any season. Iglesias has games played bonuses. Kohl Stewart, who was signed as a free agent with fewer than six years has an All-Star Game bonus.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 5, 2020 at 4:13 pm

        Still confused … for instance … say a player is under contract for another 2 years … and the club would like to extend that player, who is NOT YET a free agent. The club and player could still add some incentives into the extension if they so wish … can they not?

        And thanks so much for trying to explain it to me .. I admit, I”m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Agree Boog, Adley should be with the big boys next yr, but he’ll get Mountcastled…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Davis could have had any incentive he wanted & wouldn’t have reach it, not even “Hit above the Mendoza line”…he made out anyways, ….go O’s

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      Ken, they certainly could. It’s not that they can’t offer incentive or performance bonuses to players under club control. They just don’t because they don’t need to. They have the control over the player. If they want to extend ahead of free agency, of course they could add performance bonuses.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 5, 2020 at 8:10 pm

        Thank you sir. I mas making more of it that it is. I understand.

  9. Birdman

    October 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Looking at the stats for Gibson and Seaver brings to mind what has probably been the biggest change in MLB over the past 40 years – the role of the starting pitcher. Gibson had 255 complete games in 482 career starts – completing an incredible 53% of his starts. And Seaver completed 231 of his 647 career starts.

    From the mid-1950s until 1980, each season between 22% and 30% of MLB starts resulted in a complete game. In 2019, only 1% of MLB starts resulted in a complete game.

  10. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I’m wondering … I spent most of the 1960’s living in Germany as an Army brat without television for 95% of that time, so I never saw big league baseball until 1970. And even then, after moving stateside, we were pretty much limited to one NBC game of the week with Gowdy & Kubek, and also the local team’s broadcast … which in my case … was the Red Sox. NO…as in ZERO..home games were broadcast, and only roughly ½ the road games were.

    So how is it that all you guys that are way older than I saw all these HOF’ers pitch so many, many times? I’ll give you that Kofax & Gibson each had some World Series face time, but let’s be honest here, how many games could you have possibly seen? A handful maybe tops?

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 5, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      The Mets televised about 120 games a year on local TV when I was growing up. The Yankees televised about 100. That’s in addition to the weekly NBC games where the Cardinals and Dodgers were often featured. From 1963–1968, either the Dodgers or Cardinals represented the National League in the World Series.

      Baseball was a bigger deal then compared with the other sports. Football was big, but not as big as today. Basketball and hockey weren’t nearly as big. Baseball players were known by the general public then.

      I never saw Koufax pitch in person, but I saw Gibson as well as many other Hall of Famers, Berra, Mantle, Kaline, Clemente and Mays.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 5, 2020 at 4:20 pm

        I guess I just missed the boat then with all the other teams superstar players. I was lucky enough to live in a AL East market, so I got to see our O’s quite often…both in person and on TV. Thanks for taking the time to respond Rich.

  11. dlgruber1

    October 5, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Random thoughts:
    The O’s have Chris Davis. The A’s have Khris Davis. Shouldn’t the O’s Davis be the one that spells it with a K?

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2020 at 5:32 pm

      LMAO funny, but they both K a lot…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 5, 2020 at 8:11 pm

      Too funny DLG.

  12. NormOs

    October 5, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    I watched The O’s beat Koufax in ’66. It was BEAUTIFUL! BTW so were the other 3 games.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top