Baltimore Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman has been named the top catching prospect in baseball for 2020.
For the third day in a row, a Baltimore Orioles prospect has found their name on MLB Pipeline’s rolling list of Top 10 prospects by position, leading up to the release of their overall Top 100 on Saturday, January 25th.
Pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez will go into 2020 ranked as the 10th best right-handed pitching prospect in baseball, while fellow pitching prospect DL Hall also finds himself ranked 10th on the list of top left-handed pitchers down on the farm. Both are sure to be among Pipeline’s list of overall Top 100 next week.
On Thursday morning, the list of top catching prospects in the game was released and as expected, Adley Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft, has been named the top catching prospect for 2020.
Below is how the rest of the list shakes out.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Adley Rutschman, Orioles (2021)
2. Joey Bart, Giants (2020)
3. Sean Murphy, A’s (2020)
4. Luis Campusano, Padres (2021)
5. Francisco Alvarez, Mets (2023)
6. Shea Langeliers, Braves (2021)
7. Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers (2021)
8. Sam Huff, Rangers (2021)
9. Daulton Varsho, D-backs (2020)
10. Miguel Amaya, Cubs (2021)
The team over at MLB Pipeline list Rustchman’s hit and power tool (both 60 grade) as the top tools among catching prospects, tools Orioles fans have already seen on display during his brief appearances with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Aberdeen Ironbirds, and Delmarva Shorebirds last season.
The switch-hitting catcher hit .352 with a .473 on-base percentage during his three seasons with the Oregon State Beavers, finishing his career with 17 home runs and a 1.326 OPS during his junior season. Heralded by many as one of the top draft prospects the game has ever seen, it’s not a matter of if Rustchman joins the Orioles in the near future, it’s just a matter of when.
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Pipeline also gives Rustchman the highest ceiling and highest floor of any of the Top 10 catching prospects.
"The sky is the limit for Rutschman, who is perhaps the best all-around catching prospect since Joe Mauer was the No. 1 pick back in 2001. He has similar All-Star, if not MVP potential, and could make quick work of the Minor Leagues with his four plus tools (hit, power, arm, defense) and baseball acumen."
He is expected to see some time with the O’s in spring training, but not as an official non-roster invitee, more of an opportunity to work with major league pitchers and watch how the big league guys go about their day-to-day preparations. Could he be the Orioles Opening Day catcher come 2021? Very likely.
With prospects like Rutschman, Rodriguez, and Hall working their way up through the pipeline, and the addition of Mike Elias selecting second overall in the 2020 draft and having the opportunity to land another elite prospect (Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson? Georgia’s Emerson Hancock?), exciting times in Birdland are certainly on the horizon.
Pipeline will continue to roll out their position-by-position breakdown on Friday with first basemen. Ryan Mountcastle ended 2019 ranked 3rd on the list of Top 10 first base prospects, but will they list him as a first baseman for 2020? If so, the International League MVP could make it four-straight days of Orioles prospects receiving high praise. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?