Baltimore Orioles’ General Manager Mike Elias seemingly got rave reviews in his selection of Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick last night. Said by Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo:
He has a strong arm, impressive receiving and blocking ability and excellent footwork on throws to second base, with a quick exchange from his glove to his release. Some scouts would like to have seen Rutschman throw more frequently this spring, but teams have run against him infrequently – and for good reason. Like most catchers, speed is Rutschman’s weakest tool and the only tool that doesn’t project as plus, but that’s hardly a concern moving forward.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
Most scouts believe Rutschman has a chance to be an All-Star-level player in the majors as an impact bat in the middle of the order while also bringing plenty of defensive value. With excellent makeup and plenty of natural leadership traits, Rutschman has all the intangibles teams like to see from their backstops. He is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey in 2008 and Matt Wieters in 2007.
Many Orioles fans on twitter told me that one drawback to Rutschman might be that Wieters didn’t pan out the way that the Orioles had initially thought. Wieters also had to undergo Tommy John’s surgery, which is certainly not part of the initial outlook on any player. However I would caution fans from saying that the O’s should have gone in a different direction based squarely on that.
The O’s also had the first pick in the second round of last night’s draft, and they picked shortstop Gunnar Henderson out of John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, AL. He’s a southpaw fielder who scouts expect to get better as he progresses through the minors. Overall, it was a successful first day of the draft for the Birds.
The Orioles are in Arlington, TX this evening to open up a three-game set with the Texas Rangers. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Drew Smyly. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.