Potential perennial all-star who can be the cornerstone for a franchise ready to lead a treasure trove of pitching prospects.
With the departure of Manny Machado, the Orioles committed to a full-blown rebuild project and Adley Rutschman will be a major part of that. Drafted after a decorated college career in which he slashed .411/.575/.751 against PAC-12 competition, Rutschman gives Baltimore a top-tier foundational piece. While investing in a catcher can be risky, the Orioles got one of the safest prospects in the 2019 draft at a position that should benefit their underrated pitching prospects as well.
Armed with plus offensive tools, the switch-hitting Rutschman has a chance to be a two-way star. With a solid walk rate (12.8%) and an advanced approach at the plate, it’s hard to picture a scenario where he isn’t a top five player at the position offensively. While the power will take some time to fully develop, playing at Camden Yards (as well as most of the hitter-friendly AL East ballparks) should be a boon to his production. Defensively Rutschman threw out 64 percent of would-be base stealers in 2019 and was a steady presence for some of the Orioles top pitching prospects.
We probably won’t see him in Baltimore until 2021 at the earliest and a more likely target date is 2022. The only concern with Rutschman is that he plays the toughest position in baseball. If the Orioles can manage his load behind the plate (given the fact he can DH there is no reason they can’t), Rutschman will be a star for a decade or more.