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The MLB Draft is roughly a month away, and the top prospects have emerged. The current consensus #1 overall pick this year looks to come out of college baseball. Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman has been long thought to be the top pick since the end of last year’s draft. As it stands, the Baltimore Orioles look poised to pull the trigger on the 21-year old backstop. Let’s take a quick look at how Rutschman profiles in this draft:
Rutschman helped Oregon State win the College World Series in 2018 and was named CWS Most Outstanding Player. He has an advanced approach at the plate that allows him to drive the ball hard consistently. In result, his home run numbers began to climb his junior season, and he has a great eye that allows him to take more walks to first rather than back to the dugout. Behind the plate, Rutschman has great agility to go with a cannon of a throwing arm.
Rutschman broke out in his sophomore year, where he slashed .408/.505/.628 and set school records for hits (102) and RBI (83). During that year, Rutschman was teammates with current Orioles prospect Cadyn Greiner. Greiner, who MLB Pipeline has ranked #17 in the Orioles system, helped form one of the best up-the-middle groups in all of college baseball that year.
“I’m no professional scout by any means, but I tell everybody I’d love to have Adley with the first pick,” said Grenier at the 2018 Winter Meetings. “Rutch is a beast. I can’t wait to see what he does this year. I hope to get to play with him again soon.”
During Oregon State’s run to the College World Series, Rutschman slashed an eye-popping .567/.650/.867, driving in 13 runs and recording 17 hits. He outpaced Greiner, Trevor Larnach (Twins), and Nick Madrigal (White Sox) to claim Most Outstanding Player honors. Those three players were drafted in the top 40 in last year’s MLB First Year Player Draft. Larnach and Madrigal are both ranked #5 in their respective systems.
Currently, the Orioles catchers are Pedro Severino and Austin Wynns. Baltimore’s top catching prospect is Brett Cumberland, who is #25. The 23-year old Cumberland is, much like Rutschman, a switch hitter, but he is more offensively-minded. The appeal with Rutschman is that he is a more complete prospect. He is already advanced at the plate, as well as behind it. Cumberland is more advanced at the plate, but far less advanced behind it.
There is always a chance the Orioles choose to go a different route, but from all indications, Adley Rutschman will be the first overall selection. He can hit, handle a pitching staff, and throw out would-be base stealers easily. He could become a more polished base runner, but that can be improved. The addition of Rutschman to any team, not just Baltimore, brings a star in the making.
Featured Image: Peter Aiken/Getty Images