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Five things to know about new Baltimore Oriole Adley Rutschman

Five things to know about new Baltimore Oriole Adley Rutschman

It's official, the Baltimore Orioles now know the man who will help lead their rebuild and resurgence in the years to come. By selecting catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft the Orioles are bringing in someone who many believe is the most talented prospect in years. 

It's easy to know the basics about Rutschman, such as his skill set and stats. But, here are some more interesting facts about the Orioles' newest addition.

1. He was intentionally walked...with the bases loaded

Yes, you read that right. This situation went viral over the weekend after Rutschman stepped to the plate with no outs in the bottom of the seventh and Oregon State trailing Cincinnati 5-2 in the first round of the NCAA Baseball Regionals. Rather than pitch to him and risk maximum damage, the Bearcats decided it would be best to intentionally walk him and let just one run score.

Do you know how talented you have to be to instill that much fear in the other team? Hint: the answer is very, very talented.

2. He shines on the big stage

In 2018, Oregon State won the College World Series for the third time in program history. One of the main reasons the Beavers were the last team standing was Rutschman. When his team needed him most, the catcher put together an outstanding performance.

In 13 games during the CWS, Rutschman recorded 17 hits, a CWS record, and earned Most Outstanding Player. On the biggest stage of his career so far, Rutschman didn't disappear. That bodes well for the Orioles.

3. He played football as a freshman at Oregon State

As if he wasn't already impressive enough, it turns out that Rutschman was a multi-sport athlete at the beginning of his collegiate career. Acting as Oregon State's placekicker for kickoffs, Rutschman showed that he has just as much power in his legs as he does in his arms.

Finishing his one season with 20 touchbacks and an average of 59.5 yards per kickoff, the man is just a really good athlete.

4. He was drafted in 2016 before opting to go to college

In the 40th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Seattle Mariners took a waiver on Rutschman, drafting him straight out of high school. Like many young prospects who go in the later rounds, he instead headed to college where he was able to improve his game and increase his draft stock. Not only did this decision help him, but I'm sure the Orioles are now happy things turned out this way as well.

5. He continues to get better

Speaking of improving his game, that's exactly what Rutschman has done year after year. Following his freshman season in which he only batted .234, Rutschman could have just wallowed in his minor struggles and hoped for better fortune next year. He didn't do that. Instead, he retooled his swing and began making large strides. His sophomore season saw him bat .408 while recording 102 hits and driving in 83 runs. Somehow finding a way to top that, he batted .411 in 2019.

Additionally, he's been able to work on his craft as a catcher. Learning to work with a pitching staff and gaining a lot more time at the position in college, Rutschman gives the Orioles plenty of reasons to believe that he'll be just as valuable behind the plate as he is at it.

The 21-year-old is already a major talent, and his continual uptick in ability and performance makes you wonder just how high his ceiling could be. 

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Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Baltimore Orioles took a major step toward rebuilding their roster and farm system by selecting catcher Adley Rutschman No. 1 overall. The switch-hitting backstop projects to become the cornerstone of the franchise. This year, the team can add another major piece in the 2020 MLB Draft as they have the second overall pick.

Though the draft has been shortened from 40 rounds to just five, it doesn't truly impact what Baltimore will do at No. 2. There, they will still have an opportunity to select the next piece of their future, and plenty of good options will be available.

But, unlike last year where Rutchsman was the shoo-in all along, the choices are not as clear cut in 2020. MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis, who has closely studied the group of prospects, believes there are a few different ways the Orioles could go.

“I don’t think it’s a clear cut decision at No. 2 yet," Callis told MASN's Steve Melewski.

When it comes to who Callis could see Baltimore selecting, the dream-scenario would be Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State University. However, it's considered a dream because the most likely outcome is that the Detriot Tigers will take Torkelson first overall. The first baseman has a special bat according to Callis and resembles the talent Rutschman has demonstrated at the plate.

Though there is a slim chance of it happening, the idea of those two one day sharing a lineup card in Baltimore would have the Orioles over the moon with excitement.

“To image those two guys in the middle of the lineup," Callis said. "Woo, that would be pretty exciting.”

Yet, if Torkelson does go No. 1, there is still plenty of talent available in the draft class. A name that comes to mind for Callis is Vanderbilt's Austin Martin. The position player asserted himself as a top prospect after his 2019 collegiate season in which he led the SEC in batting average (.392) and on-base percentage (.486) all while helping his team dominate the toughest conference in baseball and claim a College World Series title.

In Martin, the Orioles could be getting another reliable bat for years and years to come, one Callis claims to be the "best pure hitter in the draft." However, Martin's major area of concern is defense, as many are still unsure as to what his best position is. 

“I think there’s some questions as to where he’s gonna play," Callis said of Martin. “Is he a center fielder, a third baseman, an offensive second baseman? That’s a little unclear.”

After struggling in the infield, largely due to an inability to consistently make the throws from the left side of the diamond, Martin made the move to center field. However, due to the shortened 2020 season, he lost valuable reps in the outfield. Despite that, Callis sees that and one other option as Martin's best spot in the pros.

“My guess is he’s going to be a center fielder or second baseman," Callis said.

If the Orioles are not sold on Martin, or want to grab a player of similar skill but for a little less price, Nick Gonzales out of New Mexico State could be a fit as well. Versatile, he led the NCAA in batting in 2019 with a .423 average.

Baltimore could also decide it wants to add a pitcher at No. 2 overall, and based on how Callis views that portion of the draft class, it could be a beneficial decision. After a down year for pitchers in 2019, things look a lot better in 2020.

“[2019] was not a good year for college pitching. It was probably, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, the worst draft I’ve seen in terms of first-round caliber college arms," Callis said. "This year, college pitching is a strength. There’s a lot of good college pitching.”

The best, according to Callis, is Texas A&M's Asa Lacy. The left-handed starter was off to a strong start to the 2020 season (3-0, 0.75 ERA) before games were canceled. The Orioles could always use another arm to one day rely upon at the Major League level, and Callis sees Lacy as the best prospect to fit that mold.

Even with Lacy's potential, the talented pitching class may sway Baltimore away from him. The Orioles also hold the No. 30 and No. 39 picks in the draft in addition to their first-round selection, and Callis has a feeling that other very good arms will be available.

“There’s gonna be really good pitchers available at 30," Callis said. "Much more so than I think the hitters that will be available at 30.”

With the draft just a couple of weeks away, Martin, Gonzales and Lacy are seen as the three most likely options for the Orioles. No matter who the team ends up selecting with the No. 2 overall pick, Callis believes that they will become a big part of Baltimore's future success. A few years down the line, the 2020 class should have a good reputation in Callis' eyes.

“It’s the first year of the decade. I would bet that we look back in history and this would be one of the top two or three draft classes of the 2020s," Callis said.

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Glove Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter's HR vs. Orioles in 1996 ALCS is up for auction

Glove Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter's HR vs. Orioles in 1996 ALCS is up for auction

Orioles and Yankees fans, and plenty of other baseball supporters, will forever remember the name Jeffrey Maier. Now, if they want to, they can own an item of his that will always be a part of MLB history.

Maier's glove from Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS is now up for auction through Lelands Auctions, according to The Action Network's Darren Rovell. The minimum bid on the item is $2,500.

For those who need a refresher -- sorry Orioles fans -- a 12-year-old Maier made his mark During Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between Baltimore and the New York Yankees. The Orioles held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. With a young Derek Jeter stepping up to the plate, Maier was a fan planted at the front of the right-field stands. Jeter sent a ball his way, and Maier reached out and grabbed the "home run."

Home run is in parenthesis because the argument to this day is that Orioles' right fielder Tony Tarasco was in a position to potentially catch the ball as it was not going over the wall, but Maier interferes with the play. Despite evidence to support that, it was called in the Yankees favor.

New York would then go on to win the game in extra innings, shifting the momentum in the series and eventually advancing to the World Series. For Yankees fans, Maier could be viewed as a small hero. As for those in Baltimore, he carries a similar reputation to Steve Bartman. 

New Yorkers may want the glove as a symbol from their 1996 World Series run, while Baltimore fans already have some ideas for what they would do with the tainted piece of history.

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