It's hard to believe considering he was drafted first overall back in 2019, but 2021 is the first full professional season of Adley Rutschman's career.
Rutschman missed the 2020 season along with the rest of minor league baseball as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But he didn't take a year off - Rutschman spent the year at the Orioles' alternate training site, and he has come back with a vengeance in 2021.
On Thursday, the Orioles' top prospect launched his ninth home run of the season, a total that leads the entire farm system.
Rutschman remains the top catching prospect in baseball and something close to the consensus no. 2 overall prospect. He has been a regular staple of "prospect of the week" lists this season, and after a modest slump to start May he has been every bit the elite, generational talent fans expected when he was drafted.
Rustchman leads Orioles' prospects not only in home runs but also in OPS. He's second in total bases behind only fellow star prospect Gunnar Henderson and third in on-base percentage among players with at least 20 games played. And it's not just the organization he is leading - Rutschman is top-five in Double-A in home runs, runs, on-base percentage, OPS and walks.
The Baysox are 23-8, good for the best winning percentage for a team at any level of baseball in 2021, and Rutschman's defense has played just as big a role in their success as his bat.
Rutschman entered professional baseball with more hype than any Orioles prospect in a decade, and his numbers have done little to dissuade fans in Baltimore from dreaming big.
Those fans will have to stay patient for a little while longer to see him at Camden Yards, but in the meantime, they can at least enjoy watching him dominate while leading the team with the best record baseball.