The Baltimore Orioles Mid-Season Rookie Report Card

Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

Ah yes, the 4th of July has passed and the annual mid-summer All-Star game is just around the corner and you know what that means? The Baltimore Orioles 2022 season is essentially half over.

It’s now time to put together a report card (more like a progress report) on the Baltimore Orioles rookies and how they’ve impacted Charm City both in and out of the clubhouse so far this season.

Starting with the bullpen, rookie reliever Felix Bautista continues to improve a make a name for himself as part of the Baltimore Orioles pitching  staff. The giant hurler is truly larger than life and Bautista’s throwing continues to garner attention as he solidifies his role in the bullpen.

At mid-season, Bautista stands with a 3-2 overall record with ten holds and two recorded saves in 32 innings of work. Bautista has given up 12 walks but has also chalked up 38 punch outs in 35 game appearances and has earned a respectable 1.02 WHIP this season.

Baltimore Orioles rookies are starting to find their roles in the clubhouse and on the field.

Bautista should continue to grow as a middle reliever and specializes in setup roles. Bautista has earned his spot in the O’s bullpen and will continue to be counted on to produce going down the stretch this season. Fans can look forward to an even more productive 2023 season from Bautista as he gains more big league experience.

Overall Grade: B

When speaking of Baltimore Orioles rookies, Adley Rutschman immediately comes to mind not only to O’s fans but to baseball fans in general. Why not? Rutschman is the face of the organization at this point and he looks to become the clubhouse and on-field leader of this organization for years to come.

However, the Adley-Mania phase is over and reality has set in.  There is an enormous chasm between being a college baseball hero and producing daily in the Show. Rutschman is only batting .215 right now but his 12 doubles have been his great contribution to the Orioles offense.

In fact, Rutschman broke an 0 for 19 slump on the 4th of July with a late setup double against the Rangers that led to a Jorge Mateo walkoff win for the Orioles. While Rutschman’s offensive numbers don’t pop off the charts, his defensive skills and presence make him a solid package overall behind the plate.

The Baltimore Orioles Mid-Season Rookie Report Card

Time and experience will be the tell-tale necessities that Adley Rutschman needs to become a great catcher and a win for the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Overall Grade: B-

The last overall rookie who’s made an impact on the Orioles roster so far this season is Nick Vespi (Tyler Nevin did play a few games last season so I don’t completely count him in the 2022 rookie group.)

Vespi has made the most of his opportunities this season, especially after his last callup on June 3rd. However, the rookie excitement has been overtaken by the rookie realization that the big leagues can be very unkind to rookie relief pitchers.

Vespi’s ERA has ballooned to 4.85 in 11 games and 13 innings pitched.  However, Vespi still has a 2-0 overall record and a recorded save. Vespi has given up five walks to 13 strikeouts and still holds a 1.23 WHIP. Vespi is probably better suited for now in the setup role or “mop-up” duty but with more experience he may expand into a lefty closer role as well.

I still expect good things out of Nick Vespi the rest of the season and don’t  see any reason at this point why we can’t count on him to be back in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen in 2023

Overall Grade: C+

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