Baltimore Orioles: The Adley Rutschman Effect

cboemmel
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: The 2019 top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles acknowledges the crowd during the fourth inning against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 25: The 2019 top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles acknowledges the crowd during the fourth inning against the San Diego Padres at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 25, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Adley Rutschman is now an official member of the Baltimore Orioles organization.  His presence will affect the rest of the catchers in the organization.

The drafting and signing of number one overall 2019 draft pick Adley Rutschman is the opening act of the rebuild of the Baltimore Orioles under General Manager Mike Elias.  It may very well be viewed in a few years as a seminal moment in the history of the franchise as well.

Now that he is signed, we know what the immediate future holds.  Elias said the Rutschman will go to the Gulf Coast League before eventually reporting to Aberdeen to finish out the season according to Rock Kubatko of masnsports.com.

Rutschman’s eventual move to the New York-Penn League and progress through the Orioles system will cause a ripple effect throughout the system, especially among the catchers.  Every level that he reaches will result in another catcher either losing playing time, being moved down a level, or leaving the organization altogether.

My count shows 16 active catchers from the Gulf Coast League all the way to Norfolk.  Three of those catchers were drafted and signed this year: Maverick Handley (6th round) and Jordan Cannon (10th round) in Aberdeen and Harris Yett (32nd round) with the GCL Orioles.  In addition to the active catchers are Martin Cervenka and Brett Cumberland, who are both on the 7-day Injured List.

Basically, every catcher in the Baltimore system is fighting for their proverbial baseball life with the Orioles.  They either want to prove their worth to the organization or play well enough to warrant a trade to another organization.  The competition that Rutschman will bring to the catcher’s position may bring out the very best in all the current ones.

Rutschman’s arrival will also affect the Major League catchers, Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco, as well.  Will Severino be retained as the veteran presence after this season?  What happens to Sisco if Rutschman arrives in Baltimore in 2021 as some have speculated; will he remain as a back-up or will the former top prospect be traded for other pieces?

The influx of catchers will also mean an end to Jesus Sucre‘s time in the Baltimore organization after the 2019 season.  Austin Wynns, who started the season on the Opening Day roster before being optioned to Norfolk in June, must be wondering if a back-up spot is in the cards for him at the Major League level as well.

At the end of the day, Rutschman brings with him a raised level of competition for spots in the organization; competition is a good thing, and the entire organization will benefit from it.  The end of the 2019 season is still months away but once it arrives change may quickly come.  The Adley Rutschman era has begun in Baltimore and with it may come the departure of some fan favorites.

Next. Birds Add Two Players To Their Minor League Depth. dark

The Baltimore Orioles certainly are a team of opportunity for all.  It will be interesting to see what the future holds not only for Rutschman but for all the other catchers.

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