The Orioles officially got a face of the rebuild one year ago today.
Adley Rutschman, the former Oregon State catcher, was selected first overall by the Orioles on June 3, 2019, which was the first pick of the team’s multi-year rebuild.
A switch-hitting catcher, the former College World Series Most Outstanding Player hit .408 and .411 in back-to-back seasons as a Beaver. In each of his last two seasons, his on-base percentage was over .505. His OPS in 2018 and 2019 were 1.133 and 1.327, respectively.
In his final season in Corvallis, he hit 17 home runs and had 76 hits in 57 games played. He also walked 76 times and struck out just 38 times.
The sixth catcher to go first overall, and the first since Joe Mauer in 2001, he was the first ever selection of general manager Mike Elias as the Orioles began their rebuild toward contention once again.
“I think just to go No. 1 overall is an honor and a tribute to all the people who’ve shaped me into who I am today,” Rutschman told NBC Sports Washington that night. “Just to be able to do that for the people around me, my friends and family, to be the first one for Baltimore is truly a special honor.”
Rutschman played in 37 games after he was drafted for Delmarva, Aberdeen and the Gulf-Coast Orioles, where he slashed .254/.351/.423 and hit four home runs. His fielding percentage was .976 and he tallied 150 putouts.
He’s been compared to Mauer and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in the past, a fact not lost on Rutschman himself.
“It’s an honor,” Rutschman said. “Those guys are phenomenal players, phenomenal athletes, and a lot of them are phenomenal humans. So to be talked about in that same comparison is very special.”
Rutschman will be joined by the Orioles eventual second overall pick in a week, but make no mistake, Rutschman is the face of the rebuild.
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