Adley Rutschman is just along for the ride.
And why not?
He knows where he’s going. He knows where he’s been.
Rutschman, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, is getting his first true taste of Major League Baseball as a non-roster invitee to big-league spring training.
“I’m really excited. Expect the unexpected,” Rutschman said at the recent “Birdland Caravan” in White Marsh, Md. “It’s a whole new staff this year, so I think there’s a lot of new stuff that’s going to be coming our way. But went down for a minicamp a couple of weeks ago and they introduced us to a lot of new stuff with regards to analytics and whatnot, so I think it’s really good and going to be very beneficial.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Rutschman will remember this spring training experience the rest of his life. It will give him an opportunity to work with the Orioles’ major-league staff, most notably major league field coordinator/catching instructor Tim Cossins and major league coach and Fredi Gonzalez, both of whom are former catchers.
“Everybody remembers their first major-league camp,” Hyde said. “”It’s going to be great to have our major league coaches, have Coss and Fredi, for him to be around our catchers that have been through it a little bit, it’s going to be a lot of experience out of that. It’s going to be a camp he’s never going to forget. It’s just no matter what you’ve done, there’s always something different about your first major-league camp. We’re all excited to have him in camp. We’re excited for him to get this experience and I’m just looking forward to watching him play.”
Rutschman, the No. 4 overall prospect in MLB, will also soon make his spring debut. The young catcher was the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2019 MLB Draft after batting .352 with 72 extra-base hits, 174 RBIs and a 1.032 OPS during 185 games at Oregon State from 2017-2019. Rutschman slashed .254/.351/.423 with four home runs, 26 RBIs and a .775 OPS in 37 games with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Short-A Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva last summer.
When asked what he learned during his short time with the Orioles minor-league affiliates, Rutschman replied, “Just the lifestyle. What to expect on a day-to-day basis. Just being able to adapt to the long road trips and get me ready to play every day and the mindset you have to bring.”
Rutschman is not projected to make his major-league debut until 2021. He could begin this season at High-A Frederick or Delmarva before heading to Double-A Bowie.
Rutschman spent the offseason working out and participating in an array of baseball activities.
“I’m very ready for the start of the season,” Rutschman said. “So, big-league camp is going to be a great experience.”
When he eventually reaches the majors, Rutschman, 21, is expected to be a fixture in the Orioles lineup for the long-term. He hit .411 (76-for-185) with 10 doubles, 17 home runs, 57 runs, 58 RBIs in 57 games this past season as a junior. He led NCAA Division I players with a .575 on-base percentage and 76 walks.
“It’s hard to know where to start with Adley Rutschman,” Elias said after drafting the catcher last June. “He’s a switch-hitting catcher with power plus he can hit from both sides with an unbelievable statistical resume. He’s a team leader on and off the field. He’s everything you want and he plays a premium defensive position with athleticism that gives him versatility to play elsewhere as needed. Adley is a future fixture for this organization.”
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox