Superstar prospect Adley Rutschman has already won plenty of awards in his amateur career, including as the best player in college baseball prior to being selected with the top overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Now, some fans are betting on him to add some more hardware this season.
Rustchman has the fourth-best odds to win American League Rookie of the Year in 2021, according to PointsBet Sportsbook. This is notable, not only because the Orioles haven't had a winner since Gregg Olson in 1989, but also because it seems unlikely Rutschman will begin the season in the major leagues.
The Orioles have a win total over/under set at 63.5 on PointsBet, one of the lowest numbers on the board. They aren't expected to compete this season, which means it makes little financial sense for the organization to aggressively promote Rutschman to the big leagues. They would be wasting a year of his service time for likely very little tangible benefit.
It would be one thing if Rutschman was clearly knocking on the door of the majors, but this is a player who has 130 career professional at-bats, including just 12 games at Low-A Delmarva as his highest level of competition.
The 2019 draft class was as hurt as any by the missed 2020 season, which would have been their first full year in professional baseball. It's hard to justify such a quick promotion, even for a player as polished as Rutschman when the big league team is still so far from competing.
Rutschman's odds to win are +1200, behind Wander Franco (+1100), Jarred Kelenic (+750) and Randy Arozarena (+400). Interestingly, the Orioles' Ryan Mountcastle has the sixth-best odds on the board at +1600.
Not only is Mountcastle much more assured of playing the entire year in the majors, and therefore accumulating better counting stats, but he's also started to prove himself capable of hitting big-league pitching. Mountcastle excelled in a small sample size at the MLB level in 2020, so he has a huge leg up on Rutschman, even if they were guaranteed to both start the year in Baltimore.
It's interesting that Mountcastle would have longer odds than Rutschman given their experiences so far, but either way it is exciting for O's fans to see multiple young prospects be thought of so highly early in their careers.
Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet