The Orioles plan to have top prospect Adley Rutschman begin the 2021 season at Double-A Bowie, general manager Mike Elias said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio.
“He should get here pretty quickly, and I hope has a pretty smooth ride through the minor leagues, but he just hasn’t played minor league baseball yet, really,” Elias said (h/t The Baltimore Sun). “The guy hasn’t played in Double-A or Triple-A. That’s really unprecedented. I think we’ve got to take it one step at a time here to try to check off those boxes.”
Baltimore drafted Rutschman out of Oregon State with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was ranked a consensus top-5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus heading into last season, the first player to make their top-100 debut as a consensus top-5 player since Bryce Harper.
Rutschman finished the 2019 season at High-A Delmarva before the coronavirus pandemic robbed him of a chance to move up the organizational ladder. He made the Orioles’ 60-man player pool but his name was never called as he spent the season working at the team’s Alternate Training site in Bowie.
During Wednesday’s radio segment, Elias also went on to discuss first baseman Trey Mancini, who he said will be a “Day 1” participant in spring training. He added that rookie outfielder Ryan Mountcastle is expected to be their everyday left fielder but could see time at first base and the designated hitter spot as well.