Major League Baseball announced on Monday that Orioles All Star catcher Adley Rutschman will join fellow sluggers in Seattle in the 2023 Home Run Derby.
Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman to participate in home run derby in Seattle
Rutschman, a native of the Pacific Northwest, will be joining reigning champion Juan Soto, reigning runner-up Julio Rodriguez, Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, the Dodgers' Mookie Betts, he Rays' Randy Arozarena, and the 2021 champ, Pete Alonso of the Mets. Rutschman's 11 home runs puts him dead last amongst the 8 hitters against whom he will be competing. While Rutschman is more of a "complete hitter" than a "power hitter," it will be enjoyable to watch him swing for the fences and show off his undeniable power.
Switch hitters such as Rutschman do not often participate in the Derby, with Ruben Sierra, Lance Berkman, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Beltran among the few who have done so. While Rutschman has more home runs (8) batting left-handed than he does batting right-handed, his slugging percentage (.430) and OPS .845) are both greater from the right side of the plate.
In a larger sample size during 2022, however, Rutschman was markedly better from the left side of the plate, OPS'ing .889 versus .552 batting right-handed. Seattle's T-Mobile Park does not greatly favor left-handed versus right-handed batters, as its dimensions are as follows: Left field foul pole: 331 ft.; left field power alley: 390 ft.; center field: 405 ft.; right field power alley: 386 ft.; right field foul pole: 326 ft. The last time Seattle hosted the Derby was in 2001, when Arizona's Luis Gonzalez outslugged San Francisco's Barry Bonds for the crown
Participation from Baltimore Orioles in the Derby over the last 20 years has been relatively sparse. Miguel Tejada won the Derby in 2004 after signing with the Orioles that past offseason. In 2013, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo participated in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively, but all came up short. In 2021, fan favorite Trey Mancini put up an incredible performance in Colorado, falling to Mets first baseman Pete Alonso in the finals.
This year, on Monday July 11, Oriole fans from around the world will tune in to cheer on Rutschman, hoping he can become the first Oriole since Tejada 19 years prior to win the Derby. Go get 'em, Adley.