Age (as of Jun 30th) : 23
2021 Level: AA/AAA
Tools (current/future value)
Game Power: 50/60
Raw Power: 60/65
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 catcher. Widely regarded as the number one prospect in all of baseball by many national publications, Rutschman ended the year in AAA where he put up a .395 wOBA and 142 wRC+. A good hitter from both sides of the plate, he was a better hitter from the right side of the plate where he slashed .350/.439/.621/1.060 vs his .256/.377/.449/.825 mark as a left-handed hitter. His lefthanded swing has more upper cut to it and can get long at times. He can get beat at times up and in on his hands, but he seemed to have closed that hole and shortened the swing a bit as the season went on. He’s an extremely smart hitter who can make adjustments within and at bat who gets in deep counts often with his plus plus awareness of the strike zone.
Defensively he’s already a plus receiver who is able to get many fringe pitches called strikes for his pitchers. He throws well and learned to take care of his arm a bit throughout the season. He threw out 28% of base stealers but that should improve in the major leagues where pitchers are better at holding runners. He’s not afraid to throw behind runners accurately and fields his position well. He blocks well behind the plate and is his pitchers biggest cheer leader, running out to them after each inning. If there is one area where he can improve it’s setting a still target. He tends to put up a late target that moves a bit as the pitcher is in his motion. Interestingly, he played a very good 1st base when he was rested behind the plate. He showed good hands and was able to make the double play throw to second base accurately.
He’s an extremely hard worker who’s work ethic rubs off on all his teammates. He’s a great teammate and will a be positive influence in any clubhouse
What we don’t know: While there is little doubt Rutschman is going to get on base at a high clip, there’s enough miss in his bat that could suggest he may not hit for extremely high average if he doesn’t keep that shorter left-handed swing. While he showed off good power, he may end up a 25-30 home run guy vs a 40+ guy on a consistent basis.
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. He’s ready for the major leagues right now and depending on the collective bargaining agreement, he should start the year or play most of the season as the Orioles starting catcher in 2022.