Fans at Bowie Baysox games can find Orioles catching prospect Adley Rutschman meeting pitchers on their way off the field at the end of each inning rather than immediately heading to the dugout. The catcher developed the habit while growing up and has stuck with it ever since.
During those brief meetings, Rutschman and the pitcher discuss what the pitcher may have liked or disliked about that inning and what he can do to improve.
“I think it’s always important to dissect and have some sort of feedback, just to be able to create that relationship and be able to know that I have their back no matter what,” Rutschman said on Glenn Clark Radio July 1. “That’s kind of what it represents to me, and I just want to be there for them.”
For Rutschman, the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, the relationships he has with his teammates go beyond those meetings during games with his pitchers. He attributes his success and the position that he is in today in part to the strong relationships he has built with his teammates, saying that Baltimore’s organization is “full of great guys.”
The bond everyone has formed with one another has created an atmosphere in which players can succeed, according to the catcher.
“Just the character of everyone around, it makes for great camaraderie with the guys — just an enjoyable time to be at the field every,” Rutschman said, “and that’s all you can really ask.”
Throughout his time with Double-A Bowie this season, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Rutschman has hit .281/.412/.500 with 40 runs, 55 hits and 36 RBIs across 53 games entering play July 7. During the 2019 season, the Oregon native hit .254/.351/.423 with 19 runs, 33 hits and 26 RBIs across 37 games and 130 at-bats.
It paid off. Rutschman was recently selected to participate in the 2021 MLB All-Star Futures Game, set to take place July 11 at Coors Field in Denver.
“It’s an unbelievable honor to be invited to this event,” Rutschman said. “I’m excited to be there and get to see some guys again. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s been a goal of mine.”
Aside from the close-knit relationships he has built with his teammates, Rutschman feels confident that the Orioles’ organization is preparing him for the big-league level the right way. The catcher explained how he trusts Baltimore’s development process.
“I feel like I’m progressing and getting better. Obviously, that’s my goal. And so as long as I’m doing that, I’m going to be happy with the results, but obviously the ultimate goal is to stay in the big leagues and contribute to the team,” Rutschman said. “I don’t know what that timeline is, but I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”
Regardless of where he may be playing, Rutschman believes there is always room for improvement and always something to work on, whether that may be through hitting or fielding.
“That’s the beautiful thing about baseball is you’re never going to reach an arrival point when it comes to any aspects of your game,” Rutschman said. “… You’re never, ever going to hear me say, ‘My swing [is] exactly where it’s going to be for the rest of my career,’ and same with catching. There’s always going to be things to work on. That’s the beautiful thing about baseball. But also, it makes for a lot of ups and downs, which is always tough.”
For now, Rutschman looks forward to continuing playing in front of Baltimore’s energetic fan base at Prince George’s Stadium, calling the atmosphere “unbelievable.”
“After last year, the appreciation for it goes up so much more and you just cherish every single moment,” Rutschman said. “And to have fans come out and support us, the way that happens, it’s unbelievable and makes for a great time for us.”
For more from Rutschman, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: William Vaughan/Bowie Baysox