With the first-year player draft fast approaching, Orioles fans may want to acquaint themselves with Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, who could be the team’s next top prospect. The Athletic’s Dan Connolly offers a detailed profile of the college junior and his path to prospect stardom. With the O’s holding the first selection in June’s draft, general manager Mike Elias and company will have their choice of the best amateur players in the country. However, Rutschman is doing what he can to make Baltimore’s pick an easy one; the switch-hitting catcher has emerged as the favorite to have his name called first by commissioner Rob Manfred, earning rave reviews from scouts, coaches, and teammates alike. On the baseball diamond, Rutschman earns praise for his outstanding defense at a premium position, which he pairs with an impressive combination of power and contact at the plate. At a pivotal juncture in the Orioles’ rebuild, the organization’s choice at the top of the draft could be a franchise-altering decision,
Here’s the latest news out of Baltimore…
- In Connolly’s latest for The Athletic. he offers thoughts on all things Orioles, including a drop in velocity that prompted manager Brandon Hyde to yank Dylan Bundy from his last start in just the fifth inning. The source of the declining velocity is unclear; it could merely be a continuation of a trend that began in 2016, or there could be a health issue, though Bundy claims he is healthy. Regardless, it’s a situation to monitor going forward, whether because of injury, or because the O’s might consider tinkering with Bundy’s repertoire.
- More from Connolly: Brad Ausmus, who succeeded Jim Leyland as the Tigers’ manager from 2014-2017, offers some advice for rookie manager Brandon Hyde, who finds himself in a similar situation, having to follow in the footsteps of the respected Buck Showalter. Hyde certainly has been, and will continue to be, subjected to his fair share of scrutiny in his first month-plus at the helm of a Big League club. Commandeering a rebuilding team, Hyde has had to balance outsiders’ demands to win with the mandate to identify and develop young players around whom the organization can construct the next great Orioles team.
- Talented outfielder Austin Hays, a preseason favorite to play his way into in the Orioles’ starting outfield this season, will make his season debut in the coming days. After suffering a thumb injury in March, Hays should join one of the O’s low-level affiliates shortly and work his way through the ranks, hopefully culminating in an extended stay in the Majors, where he could contend for a starting role. Hays has long tantalized fans with eye-popping minor-league numbers, though he struggled in his 2017 debut. After a disappointing 2018, the hope is that Hays will actualize his offensive potential and force his way into Baltimore’s lineup.