MLB's No. 1 Prospect Adley Rutschman Called Up by Orioles, Will Debut vs. Rays

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 21, 2022

SARASOTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 17: Adley Rutschman #76 of the Baltimore Orioles poses for a portrait during Photo Day at Ed Smith Stadium on March 17, 2022 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

At long last, the Baltimore Orioles have called up prized catching prospect Adley Rutschman to the big leagues.

The O's announced the move Saturday ahead of a home game against the American League East rival Tampa Bay Rays:

Baltimore Orioles @Orioles

It's time. <a href="https://t.co/jtmNRWuEJH">pic.twitter.com/jtmNRWuEJH</a>

MLB.com ranks Rutschman as the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, and he is now set to make his major league debut three years after the Orioles selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

The 24-year-old Rutschman starred collegiately at Oregon State before getting drafted by the Orioles, and he has continued to perform at a high level during his minor league career.

In 19 games this season across three different levels, he is slashing .309/.427/.515 with three home runs, nine RBI and 12 runs scored.

Rutschman's 2022 season got off to a late start since he suffered a strained right triceps during a minor league intrasquad game in March, per ESPN.

The slugging backstop has since demonstrated that he is healthy, however, paving the way for his big league debut.

Rutschman's development was perhaps delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, but he showed what he could do over the course of a full season in 2021.

Splitting 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A, Rutschman slashed .285/.397/.502 with 23 homers, 75 RBI and 86 runs.

His arrival comes at an ideal time for an Orioles team that has struggled mightily at the plate this season, especially at the catcher position.

Through 40 games, the Orioles rank 23rd in team batting average (.228), 25th in runs scored (139) and 22nd in home runs (31), leaving them last in the AL East with a 16-24 record.

Robinson Chirinos and Anthony Bemboom have been Baltimore's catchers this season, and it hasn't been pretty from an offensive perspective.

Chirinos is hitting .139 with one home run and six RBI, while Bemboom is hitting .115 with one homer and one RBI. To make room for Rutschman, the O's designated Bemboom for assignment.

Rutschman should instantly be a fixture in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. He will also give Orioles fans a reason to come to the ballpark in the midst of a long and painful rebuild.