The parallels between the Giants’ Joey Bart and the Orioles’ Adley Rutschman are plentiful. Both were standout catchers at reputable Division-I schools –Bart at Georgia Tech and Rutschman at Oregon State. Bart was in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 but went second overall to San Francisco. A year later, in 2019, Rutschman went No. 1 overall to Baltimore. Both draw significant praise for their defensive skills — each received a 60-grade on the 20-80 scale at both FanGraphs and MLB.com — as well as their raw power (again, both 60s). They’re widely considered to be the top two catching prospects in the game.
Bart 23, is about 14 months older than Rutschman and has already climbed as high as Double-A on the minor league ladder. He spent most of the 2019 season in Class-A Advanced, hitting .265/.315/.479 (116 wRC+) before a 22-game stint in Double-A where he finished on a tear: .316/.368/.544 (163 wRC+). Bart went on to the Arizona Fall League and hit .333/.524/.767 with four homers in 42 plate appearances before a broken thumb cut his AFL stint short. He could stand to improve his plate discipline (6.2 percent walk rate), but Bart also didn’t strike out at a particularly alarming rate (21 percent).
Behind the plate, Bart posted a rather pedestrian 27 percent caught-stealing rate across those two minor league levels before absolutely owning the run game in the AFL, where he caught nine of the 13 runners who attempted to take a base against him. Scouting reports praise his receiving and framing abilities as well as his ability to block pitches in the dirt — all things you’d expect for a catcher who was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year prior to being drafted in 2018. With Buster Posey’s contract winding down and his production waning, it’s not out of the question to think that Bart could debut in 2020 if the season is able to get underway at some point. If not, a 2021 debut should be considered likely, barring some major injury.
The 22-year-old Rutschman, meanwhile, is obviously further from the Majors but offers many of the same skills. He’s touted as a high-end defensive catcher with a strong arm behind the plate and plenty of pop with the bat. Rutschman hit .254/.351/.423 with a hearty 13 percent walk rate through 154 plate appearances in his pro debut, topping out with Class-A Delmarva. He struck out in just 17.5 percent of those plate appearances, although it’s worth pointing out that he really hasn’t faced any pitching that’s older and more experienced than he is just yet.
Unlike Bart, Rutschman is a switch-hitter. He has power from both sides of the dish even if most reports agree that his left-handed swing is superior to his right-handed swing. He threw out seven of the 11 hitters who tried to steal against him in his limited pro debut and, by all accounts, should be adept at controlling runners, calling a game, blocking pitches in the dirt and framing. It’s reasonable to expect that he’ll be in the Majors by 2022 — and a 2021 debut isn’t all that far-fetched (depending on any service time games the Orioles do or don’t feel like playing).
Given that Bart and Rutschman were elite college catchers who went within the first two picks of a draft class in consecutive seasons, this likely isn’t the only place you’ll see the two of them compared in the coming years. Rutschman is generally ranked more highly on prospect lists, although not by much in some cases. He’s No. 4 to Bart’s 14 at MLB.com and No. 5 against Bart’s 10 at FanGraphs. Other publications have a bit more distance between them, including Baseball America (Rutschman at 5, Bart at 32), Baseball Prospectus (Rutschman at 4, Bart at 25) and The Athletic (Rutschman at 10, Bart at 44). Prospect rankings are in a constant state of flux, though, and the pair is close enough that the consensus opinion could easily change in a few months’ time.
It’s clear that both are expected to become high-end catchers with All-Star potential, but let’s open up the debate (link to poll for Trade Rumors mobile app users)…
Someone in a Braves fan group was suggesting ATL trade Trey Harris, Braxton Davidson, Bryse Wilson for Adley…smh. That wouldn’t even pay his signing bonus.
That wouldn’t even get you a prospect below the top 30 in MLBlet alone Adley
No chance. Rutschman has a higher ceiling and floor and it’s not even close.
He’s on the Orioles though. So he’s gonna disappoint like all other orioles top prospects. Kevin Gausman, Bundy, Wieters, and Billy Rowell to name a few
You obviously don’t have a clue to the abilities of Adley Rutschman because if you did then you wouldn’t say he will be a disappointment.
Not to mention Machado, Mancini, Schoop all turned out pretty damn good
Schoop? I’d call him a bust. One decent year.
I hate to say it but i dont consider any major league 6 year starter a bust.
The real poll should be Rutschman VS. Wieters.
Rutschman sounds like the more complete player. But Bart has a crazy good bat. Idk how Bart is defensively, but if he can’t make it as a catcher, he’ll make it elsewhere, that bat plays
One thing not really noted in the article Bart’s maturity. I don’t know about Adley’s makeup, but when you hear Bart interviewed, you know he has a long career ahead if him. Even if shortened by injury, he likely has manager mindset inside him.
There is no question about Bart being a catcher. He gets plus to plus-plus defensive grades.
How many years has Bart toiled in the minors since he was drafted & has slowly climbed the ranks
Last year was only Bart’s sophomore year in pro ball.
bro youre crazy. bart has been in the system for a year and a half and he already was competing for mlb this spring
you’re insane. bart is amazing. he was drafted a year and a half ago, and he almost made the mlb this year
Have you watched any baseball in the last few years?
George Ruth, “years toiled in the minors”? You must just be trying to troll right? Otherwise you’d know Bart was drafted in 18, played what was left of the season after signing, moved up in 19 two levels all while dealing with being struck by a pitch and missing playing time.
Gotta be trolling with that comment.
Rutschman is good, but heck if he could ever live up to the hype surrounding him.
dave frost nhlpa
What are they going to surround him with in Baltimore? He’s on an island in a sea of sinking ships.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Adley Rutschman is a 100% baseball name so really we only have one option.
And Joey Bart isn’t?
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Eh, you’re right about that.
So wow, this really is a no-way-out kind of showdown.
Bart’s prospect ratings has been dropping over the last few years & at 1 point Bart was rated as the best prospect in the minors
George. No he wasn’t. He was the giants best prospect. And still is. Do you realize that everything thing you’ve posted are exaggerations?
You either no absolutely nothing about what you’re talking about OR you’re intentionally being a clown. Either way, you need to bow out.
Actually, it’s clear you know a lot about Rutschman. After all, you’re on a first name basis. But you don’t know squat about Joey Bart. You said “Bart (didn’t say Joey tho you use Adler) has been dropping the last few years .” He was drafted less than 2 years ago. So though you may have a lot of Adley knowledge, that’s the extent of ur knowledge.
Just so you know, my opinion is that rutschman will be more successful than bart. He’s a switch hitter. And al though he only hit .234 his freshman year he tore it up the next 2 years, he only played 3 yrs at OSU. And he’s only had one year in the minors (drafted 2019) while Bart has had 2 (drafted June 2018),
Agreed but Joey Bart is a solid name too
It rhymes with fart
Byrd rhymes with turd. That’s more solid I believe
It is more solid. You have very keen observations, sport. You must work in sanitation, Bud.
My bad, bud
88. So are you proposing that ur insightful rhyme in your first post was more than silliness. Were we just supposed to be rolling in laughter. Because I was just playing along but when you use words like sport and bud, it leads one to believe that you think ur first post was being challenged or something.
I truly apologize if I hurt ur feelings 88.
I’m properly assuming that those were meant to be question marks instead of periods in the first two sentences. I think you’re just reading into things, guy. Those are just terms of endearment that I like to use when we’re all having fun here. No hurt feelings from me but I do forgive you for misjudging my intentions. I appreciate your graciousness, pal.
Yes, I forgot the question marks. But typically words like sport, bud and pal come from people NOT just having fun. I take them to be condescending BUT let’s just assume they were just meant in fun. So having said that I take back the comment that your name rhymes with turd.
Remember, Claude rhymes with odd. Go figure.
While we’re on the subject of terms of endearment. And I truly couldn’t care who’s better, Bart or Rutschman, as I’m guessing you don’t care either—what is your take on the expression “cheers”? I’m not a fan. I’ve started to use “take care” or “take it easy” a lot. Especially these days. When I was teaching and kids wanted me to sign their yearbooks, I used “stay safe” a lot. I had lost several former students and I truly worried about them after high school.
You can respond unless you’re not interested in this nonsports subject. Which I’d get.
I only use that expression when I have a glass in my hand or if someone asks me what one of my favorite sitcoms was. I know English people and Aussies like to use it a lot. Take it easy is always a good one. I’m church they say, “peace be with you.” I would just go with “deuces” if I were you.
I’ll pass on deuces. Too cool. Sounds like a setup.
Ride the BART train.
Would love to see MLBTR file away these polls and see in five years how we did
Joey Bart is closer to mlb and has a higher floor. Rutch is still super young so a lot can happen. He hasn’t even played A ball.
Adley has played A ball. He has 39 AB there. He has a total of 130 AB in the minors. While his bat profiles as huge, he has hit .254/.351 so far. Bart at least has 517 AB of .284/.343. He’s has shown more power than Adley so far. Their tools grade out almost exactly the same. Personally, I will take the guy with 517 AB and 2 years experience over the guy with 130 AB.
Adley played 4 years of college ball & every one of those years he’s lead his team to the NCAA Playoffs including a national championship
3 years. Hit ,234 his freshman year. 2 homers. I’m kinda thinking he didnt lead them to anything that year. They likely carried him. In fact, he might of had a better year on the football team place kicking. Did you know that he was the kicker on the football team as a freshman Babe?
No way I can say Bart has a higher floor. A switch hitting catching prospect that walks almost as much as he strikes out with 30 hr power, and oh yeah, defense is the best part of his game? What makes Rutschman such an good prospect is there are so many avenues for him to be good, he would have to whiff on ever one to be a bust. His floor is as high as one could reasonably assume Even higher than Wander Franco’s.
Why didn’t Matt Wieters live up to his promise? He was just as touted as Bart and Rutschman. You can never be sure whether a prospect will live up to the hype.
Why doesn’t Bart where a wrist/hand guard. He’s had 2 fractures now
Rutschman probably has the higher ceiling, tho I don’t see a lot of landscape between them. But Ruts is likely to get more love, being so much the boy-next-door he makes Wally Cleaver look like Eldridge Cleaver.
I take Bart because I trust SF more to develop the player better than Baltimore.
Bart, for one simple reason: who do you trust more to train them on being a complete major-league catcher – Buster Posey or you-pick-’em?
Both have the expectation to be dynamic players. In that case, I’d take Bart as he’d be ready to help sooner in Trout’s prime and he’s a little more proven as a professional.
Bart is overrated.
So Are most every Phillies prospect. Hoskins isn’t looking too good, In 5 seasons, Nola has only had one ace season, Pivetta is a train wreck, JP Crawford was such a bust he got shipped to Seattle, Maikel Franco got released when he was 27, I could go on lol
I don’t disagree. Phillies haven’t drafted well in a while. But since u are making a list I will help u with a few more awful Phillies prospects. Dugan, Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Micky Moniak pick was a JOKE. I’m sure someone or u, yourself can keep the list going. But it doesn’t mean anything to my post above. Bart is highly overrated.
13Morgs, Why is Bart overrated? Please give us some statistics, some proof to show why he is overrated. So far he has succeeded where the Giants have put him, he succeeded in college, not sure you’re going to find any evidence to support your comment.
One might end up as Buster Posey. The other might end up as Jeff Clement. Both of them started as basically the same prospect. It’s all just luck after you draft them anyway. Especially with catchers and the injuries that come with the position.
So to answer the question, which would you rather have. I’d say you’d have about the chance with either. No one really knows what these prospects are going to do and anyone that tells you otherwise is just lying.
I believe we definitely got it right with Adley. I think he will be a star in the league
I had the chance to speak to Adley when the Sarasota Orioles went to North Port where he played his first game. Unlike Manny Machado, his first game was not memorable for anything he did (Manny homered and didn’t miss a second by much).
I asked Adley if he was right dominant. He isn’t. He only throws right handed. Mickey Mantle was the same way.
Adley may be the GOAT, but I would NEVER use my first round first pick on a catcher.
The injury risks are very real when compared with other position players. I would base my selection of Adley simply on his hitting and the potential for him to adapt to another position.
Give me a pitcher, a shortstop, center or right fielder or third baseman as a first round pick.
In the past couple of decades there have only been two catchers whose first round pick has been justified, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey.
Both are so talented but unproven at the mlb level. Think of all the adjustments both pitchers and hitters make to each other constantly and the grind of playing so many games. The player that becomes the more dominant player probably depends on who wants it more.
Right now, I want Bart since he is closer and showed some batting success in the minors. Rut may be the better prospect but there has not been a breakout yet (I know he only had the one year) and he is at least a year further out from mlb. Give me the quicker slightly more currently skilled player over the longer approach that has not proven a thing yet.