ANAHEIM -- Already with having won AL Player of the Week honors this season, Orioles rookie Ryan Mountcastle added another accolade in his young MLB career after slashing .327/.382/.634 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in June.
Mountcastle was named the AL Rookie of the Month for June on Friday, making him the first Orioles rookie to win the award since pitcher Brian Matusz took home the honors in August 2010.
“It means a lot,” Mountcastle said. “There's a lot of good rookies in the AL and NL. To be named the [Rookie] of the Month is really cool.”
The award has come in what has been a noticeable turnaround for the former first-round MLB Draft pick.
Through April, Mountcastle batted .198 and had a .515 OPS after his first 91 at-bats to start the season.
But then things slowly began to turn around for him. In May, he batted .256 and hit four homers to go along with driving in 14 runs before he had his hot month of June where he led all AL rookies in hits (33), home runs (9), RBIs (26), extra-base hits (13), batting average (.327), slugging (.634), and OPS (1.016) in the calendar month.
Mountcastle said the turnaround was one that was a mental grind, but he trusted himself knowing he could turn it around.
“I mean, that first month and a half was tough, but I just tried to stay confident and know that I'm better than what I was playing at,” Mountcastle said.
The rookie has been one of Baltimore’s most productive players as he came into Friday tied for the team lead in homers with 14 and second on the club in RBIs with 47 behind Trey Mancini (52).
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Mountcastle has done an excellent job of cutting down on swings-and-misses and the offensive display that he put on in June was just a glimpse of the talent that the 24-year-old has.
“I don't think he's even close to scratching the surface on the kind of hitter he can be," Hyde said. "You've seen in the last month what happens when he swings at the strike zone. … [He] put in a ton of work understanding what he needed to do to get better.
“[He] was frustrated really in April. I think he was pressing, too, which made him chase a little bit more than normal. And just kind of got back to a real simple approach, worked on it daily and you see the damage he can do when he swings at strikes and just had a heck of a month.”