2019 Level: R-/S-R/A-
Tools (current/future value)
Game Power: 60/60
Raw Power: 60/60
Most Likely Future Role: Starting Catcher, occasional All-Star
Ceiling: Starting Catching, Perennial All-Star
What we know: The first overall pick in the 2019 draft by the Orioles, Rutschman is a rare plus offensive and defensive player at an up the middle defensive position. Rutchsman brings plus tools across the board outside of running speed and is advanced enough to move quickly through the minor league system. After slashing .411/.575/.751 at Oregon State, he was slowed a bit by mono in his pro debut though he did have a red hot streak at Aberdeen that gave him some good numbers there. Rutschman has an advanced approach allowing him to get deep in counts rarely chases pitches out of the zone. He has power to all fields and has shown the ability to hit for power without sacrificing average. Defensively, he’s a plus thrower who threw out 64% of the runners who attempted to steal in his pro debut. An intelligent and mature player for his age, he’s a leader on the field, works well with his pitchers, and already shows an advanced feel to call games.
What we don’t know: As advanced a player Rutschman is for this stage of his career, we still don’t know how he will handle upper level pitching. Rutschman has plenty of bat speed to hit upper level velocity, but it’s still an unknown how he will handle upper level and major league offspeed pitches.
What we think: Rutschman has all the makings of being a franchise type player who will end up a plus bat and defender as a catcher. Although he could probably be ready for the majors at some point next year, the Orioles will be in no rush to bring him up and start his controllability clock. Depending on how the new collective bargaining agreement ends up, Rutschman should be the starting catch by some time in 2021 or 2022 at the latest.
Another Take: Really not much to add here, a historically good college performer in a tough conference who has the tools and make-up to back it up. Only question for me is how the body holds up behind the plate, but he’s such a strong defender there that it’d be silly to move him off the position. (Luke Siler)