It's May 21, 2022. That Saturday morning started a new era of Orioles baseball when the franchise called up the 2019 first overall pick from Oregon State for his MLB debut, Adley Rutschman.
Adley's stats from May 20th, before Orioles-Jays game.
This guy is the crown jewel from the beginning of a long and painful rebuild. Alongside other peers like Gunnar Henderson, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser, no one had more hope to turn the fortune of the franchise like Adley.
His debut on that day, reminded other great prospects who brought same expectations like Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, like hitting a triple for his first hit in the majors. Unfortunately, the Orioles lost the game. But after that, all the hype was shown to be real.
Before Adley's debut, the Orioles had a 16-25 record. After that, they finished three games behind the last AL Wild Card team (Rays) with some winning streaks and one four game-losing streak. For comparison, the 2023 Orioles had lost three games in-a-row once. A breakdown:
- A 10 game-winning streak
- A 5 game-winning streak
- Two 4 game-winning streak
- Two 3 game-winning streak
- Nine 2 game-winning streak
The Orioles record one year after Adley's debut is 92-66 (.582) in 158 games, a 94-win pace in a 162-game season. If compared with others team in O's history, they tied with the '65 and '82 Orioles. Two teams who won-it-all a year later.
With Adley, these are the Orioles all-time stats (per Statmuse)
- .244/.315/.412/.729 slash line
- 1292 hits
- 278 doubles
- 29 triples
- 185 Home Runs
- 689 RBI
- 724 runs
- 112 stolen bases
- 509 walks
- 1317 strikeouts
Also, Rutschman became just the second player in baseball since 1901 to hit over 40 doubles and draw over 100 walks in their first 162 games in the major leagues, with Rutschman sitting at 42 doubles and 102 walks through 159. The other? One of the best hitters in baseball history, Ted Williams, with 48 doubles and 116 walks.
From May 21st until the end of 2022 season, Adley finished with a 5.3 bWAR/fWAR. He leads the team without a full season with a All-Star caliber season. He was the runner-up in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Could we imagine if Adley played since Opening Day that year? His career numbers tell us a little bit:
- .261/.375/.447/.822 slash line
- 146 hits
- 42 doubles
- 1 triple
- 20 Home Runs
- 66 RBI
- 93 runs
- 4 stolen bases
- 101 walks
- 115 strikeouts
For 2023, Adley started with another milestone: the first catcher with a 5-hit on Opening Day since 1900. He started like all Birdland could hope and his first full season was great. Today, he's Orioles leader in WAR by a position player per bWAR (1.6, t-2nd overall) and second on fWAR (1.5) and the sky is the limit for him and Orioles fans.
The first All-Star game start? A top-10 MVP voting? Playoffs back to Baltimore? Believe me, it's only a matter of time.
He's more than anyone dreamed. He's the guy who started a new era in Charm City. He's special. He's Adley Rutschman.