Orioles' Rutschman excited to play baseball again: 'A big part of my life was missing' - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Orioles’ Rutschman excited to play baseball again: ‘A big part of my life was missing’

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Adley Rutschman’s long wait is over. After a season without minor league baseball because of the pandemic, the Orioles’ top prospect and one of the highest ranked in the game, is ready to return to action.

Rutschman, who last played for Low-A Delmarva in September 2019, will be the starting catcher for the Double-A Bowie Baysox on Tuesday night in Altoona.

“It feels like a big part of my life was missing,” Rutschman, 23, said on Monday in a video conference call. “It just makes you appreciate it that much more. I think the fact that now you go out on a nightly basis, get four [at-bats] and catch someone, call a game, and get your adrenaline going, that means a lot.

“It’s definitely going to help you grow as a baseball player, just trying to enjoy that every day and get better.”

Since the Orioles made Rutschman the overall top pick in the June 2019 draft, he has played 37 professional games—at Gulf Coast, Aberdeen and Delmarva.

Rutschman spent the first few weeks of spring training in 2020 with the Orioles before being sent to minor league camp six days before the pandemic halted spring training and baseball until July.

He spent nearly three months at summer camp with the Orioles at the Bowie alternate training site, then went to the Instructional League in Sarasota before spring training this year.

“Two years of lifting, development, hitting work and work behind the plate,” Rutschman said. “I definitely feel like I’m a better individual and a better player than I was then. Everything that comes with getting older and sticking with my process has me feeling a lot more confident than I did two years ago.”

Rutschman is one of the prime reasons the Orioles’ farm system is rated as high as No. 5 by MLB Pipeline.

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“He knows that there’s a lot expected of him,” Bowie manager Buck Britton said. “I think he’s up for the challenge. He’s not going to let the lack of hard work or the drive affect him in any way. I don’t think he’s the type of guy who’s going to be absorbed in all that.”

Britton has been around players who had been heavily publicized. He was in the Orioles’ system when Manny Machado was coming up.

“I was never that hyped,” Britton said. “It was always, Zack’s brother coming up. That was my hype.”

Britton has been impressed by Rutschman.

“There’s a lot of pressure on those guys, obviously,” Britton said. “Adley knows that. This is a guy that works harder than anybody I’ve seen, especially somebody who’s been picked that high. A lot of times, you have to tell Adley to pump the brakes, to slow down, but this guy’s a worker and he’s a natural-born leader. I’m really excited to see him go through a season.

”Obviously, his ability just jumps off the chart, offensively and behind the plate. I think it’s a matter of getting him into games, in the professional atmosphere. He didn’t play much after being drafted, and he didn’t play in games last year, per se. He did go through the alternate site. I’m excited to see this guy when the lights go on. He’s got a chance to be a really, really exciting player for the Orioles for a long time.”

Rutschman will be catching a talented pitching staff with the Baysox. On Tuesday night, DL Hall, who was the Orioles’ top pick in 2017, will start against the Curve. Gray Fenter, who was returned to the Orioles from the Chicago Cubs after being selected in December’s Rule 5 draft, will follow.

“He makes average pitchers look really good,” Hall said. “That’s a huge thing to have somebody back there that makes you really comfortable on the mound and gives you confidence just with his body language. It’s been great getting to work with him and I’m excited to have him behind the plate for me this year.”

Had there been a minor league season in 2020, Rutschman would have started at High-A, which was then in Frederick. Now, he’s just two steps away from the major leagues, where he’s likely to be joined by Hall and Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles’ top pick in 2018, whom he caught with the Shorebirds and at the alternate site last summer.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” Rutschman said. “Looking to the future, hopefully you get to the point to where you get to work with those guys at the big-league level. It’s an exciting thing to think about for me, and for those guys as well. A lot of our topics of conversation are about how excited we are to continue to help the Orioles and try and do our best to get there, hopefully win a World Series together, and what that would look like and all the potential ahead.”

Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions later this week. You may leave yours in the comment box below or email them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. dlgruber1

    May 3, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Although I understand Rodriguez beginning the season in Aberdeen I really hope he gets to Bowie ASAP so he and Hall can continue to work with Rutschman as much as possible. I’m really excited about a future staff of Means, Rodriguez, Hall, Lowther, Baumann and Zimmerman/Akin/Kremer, whoever steps up there. Yes, I know, that’s a 6 man rotation. My crystal ball tells me that’s gonna be the norm by 2023.

  2. Beachdogs

    May 3, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Rich, I keep hearing about a possible rules change requiring four infielders on infield dirt. Are there any rules stating the dimensions the infield must be besides the ninety foot basepaths?

    • dlgruber1

      May 3, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      That’s a great question. Way back in the day when I was playing HS, legion and twilight ball there were many fields, most of them actually, that had all dirt infields. But thinking back on them they all had seemingly the same dimensions where the dirt ended and the outfield grass began. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a standard all fields must use.

    • CalsPals

      May 3, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      That would eliminate all the idiotic shifts, I like the idea…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 3, 2021 at 4:26 pm

        I’d prefer the coaches teach these boys to bunt and hit directionally. That would eliminate the shifts.

        If you’re going to make a rule change, I’d prefer a rule that says you have to have 2 infielders on each side of 2nd base.

      • willmiranda

        May 3, 2021 at 4:46 pm

        With all due respect, Cal, I think you underestimate the staying power of idiocy. Will players be able to play in on the grass to prevent a bunt or with a runner on third? Will fielders have to have both feet on the dirt, or will one foot keep them legal? When can they go on the outfield grass to make a play? After the ball is hit? After the pitch is released? Will managers be able or required to appeal? It won’t be as much fun as trying to decide when a football player has made “a catch” but could present some chances to go to the fridge while they check the slo-mo. Personally, I’m kind of libertarian on this. You’ve got nine defenders, put them where you like, as long as one guy pitches from the rubber and another is in front of the plate umpire to protect him. Let the batters adjust. A little emphasis on directional hitting rather than distance hitting can’t hurt.

    • CalsPals

      May 3, 2021 at 5:19 pm

      Boog, agree 2 on each side, didn’t read Beachdogs close enough, thought that’s what he said…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      May 3, 2021 at 5:23 pm

      Let’s look at defense from the beginning until the crazy analytic shifts, that’s how the game should be played, look at a scorebook & see where players are listed…go O’s…

  3. Eastern Sho Joe

    May 3, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Now that Cedric M is playing as was expected, Austin H and DJ stepping up, and Means performing, I’d say the clock has started on when the young studs should be brought up.

    I’m not saying to rush, but I hope the top prospects move up quickly so the management isn’t dealing with arbitrations and contract negotiations with the above players while the rookies are getting acclimated in the Majors, and possibly while they’re trying to sign an ace FA at the same time.

    I know, or hope, it’s coming but to have all of this happening at the same time could be a serious distraction when things start to look good for making a run.

  4. orf_nac_slaPslaC

    May 3, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    Obviously Adley will have to queue up behind Cumberland, the 2nd coming of Johnny Bench…

    But now for the good news for BRR and BHoff-Urias is out of lineup tonight guaranteeing a 25-1 Orioles victory! Yeehaw! If Sisco were playing instead of Severino it would be a 50-0 victory but only if Elias doesn’t watch!!!

    • Bhoffman1

      May 3, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      Atleast your client Severino is playing. You may not able to get him such a sweetheart contract next year. The Mexican league is very scarce with cash although Urias was their MVP

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 3, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      Dorf …. Why to you make this so personal? Lighten up Francis.

  5. Bhoffman1

    May 3, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Sisco seems like he was starting to hit scored either the winning or go ahead run on Friday and has not be heard from since. With Adley coming step in the guy who didn’t draft you office and demand a trade. You possibly may flourish somewhere else. You have no future here

  6. Phil770

    May 3, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    I have commented before that Severino just may be preferred by pitchers; he seems to frame better than Sisco, but as is often pointed out by Sisco fans, small sample size. Another possibility is that they are trying to build up, as best they can, Severino’s trade value. AR comes up mid-year. Sisco to help him adjust.

    • Icterus fan

      May 3, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      I can’t imagine the pressure on “AR” when he gets here. Hope he doesn’t implode trying to live up to that pedigree. I am pulling for him. He seems like a real fundamentally mature kid who should work well with our young staff. He seems relational and interested in helping them.

  7. cedar

    May 4, 2021 at 4:41 am

    Rich – how does the start of the minor league season impact the taxi squad and having an alternate training site?

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