With Major League Baseball teams training for the reduced 60-game schedule, the Baltimore Orioles have some major roster decisions to make.
Minor League Baseball has been canceled for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic which leaves some of the Orioles biggest prospects without a place to play this year. The lack of an MiLB season delays the development of some of the highest-ranked prospects in the Baltimore organization. For example, Rutschman, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 MLB draft, is set to be stuck in High-A Frederick to start the 2021 season.
The 2021 season will be Rutschman’s age-23 season and usually by a top prospect’s Jordan year, he is at least in AA or AAA, if not already in the big leagues.
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There is no time to waste with someone as “can’t miss” as Rutschman. He needs to develop and a missed season of minor league baseball will not help his cause. He should have been added to the Orioles initial pool of players reporting to summer camp in Baltimore and he needs to be on the opening day roster at the big league level.
It would allow him to get reps at the highest level of the sport and if he struggles, which I have an inkling he will not, the team could send him down to start next season to continue his minor league development.
It is a win-win for both sides. He gets to face major-league pitching and the Orioles do not lose a year of development for their top prospect.
The only downfall to the Orioles putting him in the big leagues to start the season would be the loss of service time available to Rutschman. However, it is smarter, in my opinion, to burn service time than to lose an entire year of development for a player as important as Rutschman. However, I do believe if the Orioles use up service for Rutschman this season, they need to plan to play him at least 40 games. Otherwise, it would be a waste.
The ball is in the Birds corner. They need to do the right thing and get Rutschman to camp before it is too late.