The time has finally come for Orioles top prospect and 2019 first overall pick Adley Rutschman to make his major league debut.
Baltimore announced the selection of the 24-year-old catcher’s contract 11 hours prior to Saturday night’s game with Tampa Bay, ending a much anticipated wait for the Oregon State product regarded as the best or second-best prospect in baseball over the last couple years. The switch-hitting Rutschman was viewed as a special talent who would move quickly to the majors after an exceptional collegiate career, but the unforeseen cancellation of the 2020 minor league season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Orioles’ exhausting rebuild slowed that track despite his .878 on-base plus slugging percentage over parts of three minor league campaigns.
The first draft pick made by general manager Mike Elias and just the second player to be selected first overall by Baltimore, Rutschman has served as the face of the Orioles’ rebuild and may have had a shot to make the 2022 Opening Day roster before straining his right triceps in March. That injury sidelined him for all of major league spring training and delayed the start of his minor league season until April 26. Rutschman was batting .309 with three home runs, five doubles, nine runs batted in, 11 walks, seven strikeouts, and a .942 OPS in a combined 82 plate appearances with three affiliates so far this season.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound catcher batted .282 with 30 homers, 38 doubles, 110 RBIs, 110 walks, 124 strikeouts, and a .391 on-base percentage in 778 career plate appearances in the minors.
The Orioles designated backup catcher Anthony Bemboom for assignment to make room on the 26- and 40-man rosters for Rutschman, who will wear No. 35. Veteran Robinson Chirinos will now serve as the backup catcher moving forward.