This is an early update on the top prospect for the Baltimore Orioles, catcher Adley Rutschman. He is the second-ranked prospect in MLB’s top 100, but he has gotten off to a slow start. So far in the 2022 campaign (heading into Monday night’s action), he has played in 18 games and started 13 of them behind the plate. In 67 at-bats, his offense has left plenty to be desired. Heading into Monday, he was hitting just .179 with a slash line of .257/.269 following after that. This leaves him with an OPS+ of 52, which is brutal.
Behind the dish, he has committed two errors and has thrown out one out of four base stealers.
So should the Baltimore Orioles be worried about Adley Rutschman?
It’s very early and it often takes rookies a long time to adjust to MLB pitching and the pace of play. Rutshcman did show some positive signs this weekend for the Baltimore Orioles, getting three hits in four at-bats on Saturday. Overall, he logged four hits in 11 at-bats during the series at the Kansas City Royals. Although his power has been nonexistent (he has yet to hit a home run or drive in a run since his MLB debut), there are a few positive aspects, including his framing (which is in the 65th percentile) and his max exit velocity (which is in 66th percentile). This shows that the potential is still there, and that he still serves as the best option for the Orioles behind the plate.
The Orioles have played better than expected with a record of 26-35, but this team is still in a major rebuild. Robinson Chirinos isn’t a better option than Rutschman and the Orioles need to see what they have with Rutschman. The Orioles need to let him go through the growing pains now, and hope that he picks it up later in the season or next year.
Things are not about to get easier for Rutschman because the Orioles are currently in Toronto to play the Blue Jays. That’s a red-hot team that will do everything to make life difficult for Rutschman. The Orioles now need to see what he is really made of, and he has so much talent that it should click sooner rather than later.
The other option is to bench him for a few days and let him learn while he’s not playing. The Orioles have given him a few DH days to keep his bat in the lineup on days he doesn’t catch. At this point, he should still be playing at least five to six times a week.
Baltimore still has a lot to be excited about with Rutschman. The slow start shouldn’t discourage anyone in the organization.