Adley Rutschman says Orioles are moving in the right direction - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Adley Rutschman says Orioles are moving in the right direction

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Adley Rutschman was designated a camp reserve by the Orioles just before spring training started. In his second camp after being the No. 1 pick in 2019, he’s been spending much of his time at the minor league complex at Twin Lakes Park.

On Saturday night, Rutschman won’t be catching but he will be the starting designated hitter for the Orioles when they face the Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. In two games, Rutschman is 1-for-5 (.200) with a double and RBI.

Rutschman, 23, played 37 professional games with Gulf Coast, Aberdeen and Delmarva in 2019. Last season was spent at the Orioles’ alternate site at Bowie after the minor league season was canceled because of the pandemic.

“I think the alternate site helped quite a bit,” Rutschman said in a video conference call. “Just being able to get those three months in of work, facing pitchers live again and being able to catch some of the guys over there helped a lot.

“As far as that goes, I’d like to think that some of the stuff we’re doing as far as pitch-calling, controlling the game and just having those three months of being able to work on my swing, I’d just like to think I’m an overall better player from that.”

Rutschman is expected to start the minor league season in early May at Double-A Bowie. It’s not known whether he’ll make his major league debut later in the season or in 2022.

“Whenever people ask me when do I think I should debut, what’s my timeline, what do I think it should be … For me, it’s always going to be the same,” Rutschman said. “I’m going to control what I can control. I’d like to think I can compete at any level that you put me at, just because of who I am.

“I’d like to think I’m a competitive person and I can do those things. I don’t know what my timeline is. I’m just here to play baseball and get better every day.”

Rutschman like the direction of the Orioles’ organization.

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“Everyone here is happy to be here, is happy to be playing again,” he said. “And as far as the personalities we have on the team, I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this organization so far and be a part of some of the high character, quality people we have right now running the organization, both players and coaches and people running the development process for guys coming up and guys in the big leagues right now.

“I think there’s a good, constant wave trending upward right now from the bottom to the top.”

Rutschman has worked hard to get to know the Orioles’ pitching staff.

“The biggest thing is knowing the pitchers, pitching to their strengths,” Rutschman said. “Then there’s a lot of new analytics coming out about each individual pitcher, then the weaknesses of the guys that we’re facing, so it’s a combination of knowing the opponent, knowing your pitcher and just getting comfortable with that process.”

Among others, Rutschman caught DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles’ top pitching prospects, last year at the alternate site.

“I think I’m definitely getting a better sense for each of the guys coming up right now,” Rutschman said. “Every single time I catch someone, you learn a little bit more about them, so having the time at the alternate site last year and then having the time to catch guys in bullpens and catch guys in games, everything helps. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

Since he was drafted in June 2019, Rutschman has been considered the face of the Orioles.

“I think it’s a very fortunate and very humbling position to be in to have people say that,” Rutschman said. “It has been tough not being able to have that interaction with the fans like a year-and-a-half ago. I look forward to the day that we get interaction again.”

In last Tuesday’s game, manager Brandon Hyde paired Rutschman with knuckleballer Mickey Jannis for an inning. There aren’t any knuckleball pitchers currently in the majors, and it’s a task that even experienced catchers try to avoid.

“It was a little different,” Rutschman said. “I had one bullpen before catching him in a game, and I definitely wasn’t feeling comfortable after that bullpen. It was a little bit of a humbling experience. I didn’t know how the game was going to go. It ended up going good, and he pitched great, so it was a bonus both ways.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. dlgruber1

    March 6, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Rutschman reminds me so much of Weiters. They look alike, both are switchhitting catchers who were 1st round picks, Rutschman overall top pick and Weiters the 5th selection in 2007. They even look a bit alike tho Weiters is taller. I think if you go back and find an interview of Weiters they’d even have said the same thing. Uncanny. Here’s hoping Rutschman fulfills his promise, something Weiters never really did. He had a nice career in Baltimore but certainly never became “Joe Mauer with power”, as Sports Illustrated dubbed him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 6, 2021 at 4:31 pm

      What always bothered me is that some fans never learned how to spell “Wieters.” Matt had an excellent career with the Orioles, but yes, never lived up to the hype.

    • ClayDal

      March 6, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      I before E except after C. Third grade English

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 6, 2021 at 8:35 pm

      Rich … is it Rushman or Rutsman?

    • CalsPals

      March 6, 2021 at 8:50 pm

      Bothers me when people can’t spell his name…lol…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 7, 2021 at 1:06 am

        They’re the worste!

    • dlgruber1

      March 6, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      My apologies to everyone, especially Mr. Wieters. Lol, when I spelled it correctly just now my spellcheck automatically switched it back to Weiters. That tells me I’ve been spelling it wrong for a long time now. Luckily I proofread it and caught it. That would’ve been really embarrassing. Too bad his name wasn’t Matt Smith. I can handle that one.

    • CalsPals

      March 7, 2021 at 7:38 am

      :)…I like go O’s, doesn’t mess with my spellcheck, lol…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      March 8, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      Clay, how about science…English is horrible, all rules can be broken…lol… go O’s…

  2. Orial

    March 6, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Number one–he better be a LOT better than Wieters or I’ll be very disappointed and number 2–he’ s doing so well with the pitchers that they DH him. Now THAT makes a lot of sense(sarcasm). Come in Hyde let’s move things along here a little.

    • CalsPals

      March 7, 2021 at 7:43 am

      Good call Orial, no sarcasm here, go O’s…

  3. Baltimore Castaway

    March 7, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Expecting a lot more from Adley than they ever got from Wieters.

    I always am suspicious and wary of players that hire the Boras Corporation as their Agent. And of course that is exactly what Wieters did. Wieters NEVER would have signed for $500K under-slot to enable the Orioles to be able to also sign Gunnar Henderson in the next round–something that Adley never gets any credit for.

    Beyond that, Wieters’ on-field persona was low key and almost going-through-the-motions…I know that’s harsh but that is what I saw in him during his time here. On the other hand, the Orioles did use him as a workforce and he never complained. His timing here was such that he never really had a team that he could win with.

    I believe that Rutschman will be quite a different player for the Orioles and a bright Star for the game of baseball.

    • VICTORTEE

      March 7, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      So far Adley is nothing but hype. Wieters totally tore up the minors. Adley has shown nothing in games so far. I hope he is as good as the hype.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        March 8, 2021 at 1:11 pm

        Victor–you are completely right with this position.

        My take on Adley is that he has demonstrated a lot of character in College, in his very brief time in the minors and in Life.. But, as you know he will have to show his game at the Major League Level in order to justify his standing.

        My take is that he will back the hype up..and that is strictly my amateur opinion.

        Stay well.

  4. OriolesNumber1Fan

    March 7, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    I agree with you BC. I believe that’s why Wieters fell to the Orioles at number 5. But getting back to Adley “No Rush” Rutschman, I believe he’s going to be better as well. I also liked that he took less so the Orioles could draft Gunnar Henderson.

    That’s another plus reason why I liked the Orioles selecting Arkansas – Heston Kjerstad. Not only was he the best overall hitter in the best conference in college baseball but he signed for a lot less so the Orioles could draft and sign SS Jordan Westburg, OF Hudson Haskin, SS Anthony Servideo, 3rd Baseman Coby Mayo and P Carter Baumler with only a 5 round draft. Real solid draft class.
    Hopefully, they have 1 more really solid draft class coming this summer so minors will maybe be top 5 overall!!! Then graduate each minor league player to the majors when they’re ready, like they did with Ryan Mountcastle!!! In the meantime let them learn and develop in the minors where they belong until they are ready!!!

    • Baltimore Castaway

      March 7, 2021 at 2:52 pm

      Brilliantly stated.

      People like to throw shade at Elias but he is doing a very good job in restoring the talent level in the System. Better than what he is receiving credit for.

      I am also impressed at how well John and Lou are “Staying w the Plan”….

      The Fifth Overall Pick this year should help a bit, trading Santander/Mancini and receiving a haul for them, and a third International Draft by Elias and Koby Perez will give them even greater lift…

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 8, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    That’s right kids, just remember that cheating and a lack of ethics pays off if you’re consistent!

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