Orioles

Quick Links

One year later, Orioles’ Adley Rutschman still warranted the pre-draft hype

One year later, Orioles’ Adley Rutschman still warranted the pre-draft hype

There are No. 1 picks, and then there’s Adley Rutschman.

Not every player taken first overall in a draft is considered a no-doubter. On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers are expected to take Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson to kick off the draft, but draft analysts have indicated he’s not a lock even with the draft just a day away.

But for Rutschman, the hype was real. He was the presumptive No. 1 pick for months leading up to the 2019 draft, making it an easy decision for the Orioles with the top selection. And in the year since, he’s done nothing but reward Baltimore for taking him.

Over the last 10 years, only two No. 1 picks were consensus (among Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB Pipeline) top-five prospects within a year of being drafted: Bryce Harper and Adley Rutschman.

Harper was the most-hyped prospect of his generation, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 and earning nicknames like, “the LeBron James of baseball” before he was old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes. Rutschman didn’t receive that caliber of attention, but his presence at the top of prospect rankings is evidence of how much potential he brings to Baltimore.

RELATED: FIVE PROSPECTS THAT COULD GO SECOND OVERALL TO THE ORIOLES IN MLB DRAFT

MLB Pipeline’s draft analyst Jim Callis joined NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk podcast Monday and talked about the hype that surrounded Rutschman while playing for Oregon State.

“With Rutschman, I talked to a bunch of scouts [and asked] how does he stack up and my conclusion from talking with people was this is the best catching prospect of that period, the last 30+ years that I’ve been covering it,” Callis said.

Rutschman ultimately signed for an $8.1 million signing bonus to join the Orioles, a record for the largest bonus a draftee had ever received. He’s since played 37 games for three different levels of their minor-league system, rising up to Single-A by the end of last season.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

“There was talk, ‘Oh there might be something going on with his shoulder’ and I think that was overblown and that was some negotiating [tactics] maybe,” Callis said. “But I remember talking to a scouting director who picked very high but was not going to get a chance at Rutschman last year and he said, ‘Look, let’s say there is something wrong with Adley Rutschman’s shoulder and he can only play first base. Then he’s Mark Teixeira.’

“So you’re talking about Mark Teixeira offensive upside and oh by the way, he might be a Gold Glove-type catcher. That’s pretty special. So I think all the hype was warranted, I think the draft-record $8.1 million bonus was warranted.”

The 2020 campaign was supposed to be Rutschman’s first full season at the professional level, giving the Orioles their first extended look at the prized catching prospect. Even with a minor-league system doubtful for this summer as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the team has to feel good about Rutschman’s progress.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS:

Quick Links

Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the normalities of a baseball season will continue on. That means players and managers getting heated, arguments with umpires and benches clearing. But because of the risk the virus poses, MLB has asked for those moments to remain socially distant.

The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics did not follow that rule on Sunday.

After Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch, he appeared to be exchanging words with a Houston bench coach. With no fans, the words can be heard loud and clear by everybody. That led to both benches clearing and not even six inches of separation between players. 

It's understandable for players to get angry and caught up in the moment, but this move by both teams is rather unacceptable given the current climate of the country and the sport. Though players are being tested constantly, this close contact between teams is unnecessary and only creates a larger risk for all involved.

The non-socially distant brawl comes at a bad time for baseball, as the league is dealing with numerous coronavirus-related issues. The St. Louis Cardinals have had at least 15 games postponed due to an outbreak within the organization, and that comes just after the Miami Marlins dealt with the same problem as well. Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was reportedly sent home on Sunday after breaking protocol and going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night.

Despite tightening up regulations for players, MLB still faces daily challenges while trying to operate a season during a global pandemic. Moments like the brawl between the Athletics and Astros don't help.

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS:

Quick Links

Report: Indians send pitcher Zach Plesac home after he went out in Chicago Saturday night

Report: Indians send pitcher Zach Plesac home after he went out in Chicago Saturday night

The Cleveland Indians have sent pitcher Zach Plesac back to Cleveland after the pitcher reportedly went out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Zack Meisel reported.

According to the story in The Athletic, Plesac went out with friends in the city following the team's game against the Chicago White Sox in which he threw six scoreless innings. After his teammates and staff learned where he was, they reportedly became upset and uncomfortable with the behavior and the Indians quickly sent him home to isolate and quarantine. 

Plesac will reportedly be quarantined for 72 hours and tested daily. His next scheduled start is Saturday, August 15, against the Detroit Tigers.

The decision by Plesac comes at a surprising time as MLB has tightened protocols amid COVID-19 outbreaks within multiple organizations. The pitcher's time in Chicago is a violation of the rules set by the team and the league. 

The Miami Marlins had double-digit positive cases just a few games into the season and the St. Louis Cardinals are now facing an outbreak that has led to the postponement of at least 15 of their scheduled contests. 

Plesac, a nephew of former MLB pitcher Dan Plesac, is currently 1-1 on the season with a 1.29 ERA in three starts. The Indians are scheduled to play the White Sox on Sunday night and then the Chicago Cubs beginning on Tuesday. As of now, it is unknown if Plesac's potential contact with any players following Saturday night will impact future games.

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS: