Orioles Victory Number 8: 6-5 over the Tampa Bay Rays
2016 Bowman Ryan Mountcastle
While the Orioles were blowing and regaining leads against the best team in the American League, hundreds of card collectors around the globe were ripping open packs of brand new 2019 Bowman cards. It's where the prospects are. For those who focus on the future more than the present, Bowman is the set that really gets things going.
For me, I randomly buy some Bowman here and there and then forget about it. Every couple of years or so I'll go through what I bought just to make sure I don't have any hidden gems floating about as it sometimes takes a few years for prospects to pop and make it to the majors.
Take the card above. It's three years old and Mountcastle still hasn't made it to the majors. He is still regarded as one of the Orioles top prospects (MLB.com has him second as does Baseball Prospectus while Baseball America has him ranked third). Everyone agrees that the young man knows how to hit a baseball, but where exactly he's going to play on the field remains a mystery. Already in his young career he's lined up at shortstop, third base, and (starting this season) at first base.
It wouldn't be shocking to see him get some reps in the majors later this summer with eyes on him being a full-time major league player next season, but for this season he should stay in Norfolk and demolish AAA pitching.
So who makes the cut for this season's future prospects in the 2019 Bowman set? Well, according to the checklist on Beckett.com, the base set has two rookie cards (Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart) along with veterans Trey Mancini and Mychal Givens. The prospects are:
Rylan Bannon - drafted in the 8th round in 2017 by the Dodgers and part of the Manny Machado deal. The infielder is ranked 23rd by MLB.com and started the season in Bowie.
Ryan Mountcastle - in Norfolk for this season.
Ryan McKenna - The speedy outfielder was picked in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and is currently ranked 7th overall by MLB.com. He's playing the outfield for Bowie this season.
Yusniel Diaz - The centerpiece of the Machado deal last season, the Cuban-born outfielder struggled after the trade initially, but started to pick things up towards the end of the season. He is the consensus top prospect in the organization and despite starting the season in Bowie, may crack the Orioles line-up by the end of the season.
DL Hall - Hey, a pitching prospect! The 21st pick overall in the 2017 draft, Hall is rapidly moving up through the Orioles system. He starts in Frederick this season, but may see time in Bowie as well. MLB.com has him ranked third overall behind Diaz and Mountcastle.
Last year's top pick, Grayson Rodriguez makes an appearance in the Bowman Scouts' Top 100 insert set while Dean Kramer, who had a cup of coffee with the Orioles last year, has a Chrome Prospect Autograph insert.
I doubt I'll invest too much into Bowman this year, probably just pick up a team set or participate in a group break, but if you like speculating on young talent, this is the product to get.