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Orioles prospects Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle won’t be among September call-ups

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — With the minor league regular season ending Monday, the Orioles will add a collection of players to their roster Tuesday. Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle will not be among them.

Although the team will promote several pitchers who have been up and down throughout the season, as well as catcher Austin Wynns and outfielder Mason Williams, the Orioles will not promote Hays and Mountcastle this season, a team source confirmed.

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Instead of joining the Orioles, Hays, 24, will head to the Arizona Fall League to make up for time lost this season to injuries. After an impressive 2017 season that earned him a September call-up, Hays battled ankle injuries throughout 2018. He then suffered a thumb injury in minor league camp at spring training and later missed a couple of weeks in June with a hamstring injury. Entering Monday, Hays had only played 86 games, including his rehabilitation stints, with 58 of those with Triple-A Norfolk, where he hit .255/.306/.460.

Given that the AFL season has moved up to overlap with the major league schedule, the Orioles made the choice to send Hays there, in hopes that a strong performance in Arizona would position him to break camp with the club next year.

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Hays and right-hander Cody Carroll will join pitchers Dean Kremer, David Lebron and Alex Wells and infielders Mason McCoy and Rylan Bannon in Arizona.

Mountcastle, 22, was the International League Most Valuable Player, hitting .310/.343/.527 with 25 home runs for Norfolk entering Monday’s season finale. Still, the Orioles would like to see improvement in his plate discipline stats, as he has 24 walks to 129 strikeouts. His 4.4% walk rate is the 18th lowest among all upper-level minor leaguers with at least 300 plate appearances.

His defense is a work in progress, as well. Drafted 36th overall in 2015 as a shortstop, Mountcastle played exclusively third base last season before moving across the diamond to first base this season while also getting time in left field. Given that the Orioles’ roster already contains several players limited to first base and outfield corners, there were also going to be difficulties getting Mountcastle regular at-bats at the major league level.

As for those who are being promoted, pitchers Chandler Shepherd, David Hess, Evan Phillips and Ty Blach are all on the 40-man roster and have pitched for the Orioles already this season. Wynns will serve as a third catcher behind Chance Sisco and Pedro Severino.

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Williams has hit .309/.372/.481 with 18 home runs for Norfolk. The 28-year-old played 51 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 after playing 25 games for the New York Yankees from 2015 to 2017. The Orioles will need to open a 40-man roster spot to add Williams.

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