Baltimore Orioles: Reacting to Adley Rutschman’s AAA Debut

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brayan Bello #17 has a word with Adley Rutschman #35 of American League Futures Team as they walk off the field during a game against the National League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brayan Bello #17 has a word with Adley Rutschman #35 of American League Futures Team as they walk off the field during a game against the National League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Adley Rutschman, Major League Baseball’s top prospect, made his Triple-A debut on Tuesday

As reported on Twitter by MASN’s Roch Kubatko on Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles promoted catcher Adley Rutschman, the club’s top prospect, to Triple-A for the first time in his career. Rutschman joined the Norfolk Tides and started in Tuesday’s game against the Memphis Redbirds, the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before the call-up, Rutschman had played in 80 games this season for the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate, the Bowie Baysox. In those 80 games, Rutschman slashed .271/.392/.508 with 18 home runs and 55 runs batted in. The 23-year-old catcher quite literally became an everyday player in Bowie, missing only two games while traveling to Denver to participate in the 2021 MLB Futures Game.

Tides manager Gary Kendall slated Rutschman as the second hitter in Norfolk’s starting lineup on Tuesday, catching left-handed pitcher Bruce Zimmermann over five scoreless innings against the opposing Redbirds lineup. Rutschman would later catch three innings from the Orioles’ 12th-ranked prospect, Kyle Bradish, and an inning from Felix Bautista to close out what was a 4-0 victory for the Tides.

In his first two at-bats with Norfolk, Rutschman grounded out to the shortstop and flew out to right field. However, the slow start didn’t keep him from having an impact on the game. In the sixth inning, he slashed a single into left field, driving in the Tides’ third run of the game. Rutschman would later knock a double into right field in the eighth inning for his first AAA extra-base hit.

As the Orioles continue through their rebuild, the progression of Rutschman is of utmost importance. According to MLB Pipeline, Adley Rutschman is Major League Baseball’s top prospect, meaning the Orioles have a player in their system who people around baseball will be on the lookout for in the coming months.

If Rutschman continues to hold his own at Norfolk, it’s possible that the Orioles could give him a spot on their expanded roster once September rolls around.

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