Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman finished runner-up in this year’s American League Rookie of the Year balloting. While the honor went to Mariners center fielder Julio Rodríguez, the runner-up placement is a key development for Rutschman.
In order to disincentivize service time manipulation, the league and Players Association agreed to the so-called “prospect promotion incentive” in the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Any player with less than 60 days of MLB service coming into the season who placed on at least two preseason Top 100 prospect lists at Baseball America, ESPN or MLB Pipeline now receives a full year of service time if they finish in the top two in Rookie of the Year balloting. Rutschman meets that qualification, meaning he’ll earn a full year of service for the 2022 campaign. That moves his path to arbitration and free agency up a year, as he’ll now qualify for arbitration after the 2024 season and is on track to reach free agency after the 2027 campaign.
Rutschman coming up short of the hardware was more a matter of timing than any possible indictment of his performance. The first overall pick in the 2019 draft, the switch-hitting backstop was banged up in Spring Training and eventually started the year in the minors. He played 20 minor league games before getting his first big league call in late May, a time when Rodríguez had already cemented himself among the AL favorites.
As soon as he got to the big league level, Rutschman emerged as Baltimore’s top position player. He hit .254/.362/.445 with 13 home runs across 470 plate appearances. Among 29 catchers with at least 300 plate appearances, Rutschman trailed only Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk in on-base percentage and finished eighth in slugging. The former Oregon State star also threw out 11 of 36 attempted base-stealers, rated as 18 runs above average with the glove by measure of Defensive Runs Saved and immediately stepped in to lead a generally young pitching staff.
Rutschman is arguably already one of the sport’s top three catchers, and his arrival helped kick off an incredible midseason turnaround for the O’s. 16-24 at the time of his promotion, Baltimore went 67-55 after his call-up and shocked much of the baseball world by flirting with Wild Card contention into September. They didn’t make the postseason, but they were far better than most expected and have positioned themselves for a more active offseason than they’ve had since starting their rebuild. Rutschman isn’t responsible for the Orioles turnaround alone, but he’s no doubt the biggest part of what’s an increasingly promising team.
Unlike the Mariners, the Orioles will not receive a bonus draft pick for Rutschman’s finish. Seattle earns an extra selection because Rodríguez, who also met the criteria as a consensus top prospect preseason, would have qualified for a full year of service independent of the award finish based on the team carrying him on the MLB roster for at least 172 days. Rutschman was on the roster for 138 days and would not have earned a full service year in 2022 if not for his top-two finish.
Glad he gets the year…. Some teams would not have risked it…. Hopefully he sticks in Baltimore
Risked him having any possibility of being in the top 2 and losing a year of control … could have waited til September to bring him up …. On paper it costs millions of dollars
Some GM’s would not think a feel good .500 season was worth a year of control of one of the games best prospects
Also would have hurt them when it comes to using free agents. If a player is getting offered equal $ I would have to assume the chance of winning becomes a huge variable. The season Os had last year people view the teams direction in a much more positive light.
FTR: Adley lead qualifying AL rookies in WAR per games played.
Joey Bart for Adley Rutschman straight up? Maybe Farhan will consider throwing in Luis Gonzalez too.
I’m just joking, it’s nice seeing what the Orioles are doing. They haven’t been good my entire life..
i like al conin
You’re 5 years old? Haha you might recall they last made the playoffs in 2016.
I appreciate the sentiment but they made the playoffs 3 times in the 2010s.
….so you’re…5 years old?
Bandwagon fans only remember World Series.
Hilarious joke. I got one just as funny. Maybe they could trade Heliot Ramos for Cedric Mullins! Hahaha.
I don’t follow the Os beyond a few headlines here and there…thus did not know about this young backstop. Sounds like a total stud on both sides of the ball! Good for the Os and this young baller! I’m tuning in in 2023!
I guess you were born in 2017
They were in playoffs around 5 years ago. Sorry you are so young
A small price to pay for franchise relevancy.
The O’s certainly have a good one.
The effect he had on the team when he finally debuted after coming off the IL was absolutely unbelievable. Legitimately night and day, and the before and after he arrived records back that up. The guy is just a winner and he makes everyone around him better.
It will be interesting to see if Baltimore tries to lock him up, like the Mariners did with Rodriguez and Braves did with Harris & others. I hope they do, it will be a great step forward for the organization as a whole.
I really hope Mike Elias makes it a priority this offseason. The Orioles have shown the ability to spend a decent amount in the past, but we’ll never be able to hang with the Yankees and Dodgers and Mets of the world when it comes to pursuing marquee players in free agency. The Braves model is how we might be able to hang onto top shelf talent past the initial period of team control. Fingers crossed.
I understand the reasoning behind taking a deal like that but it has to be fair on both sides. The braves fleeced 2 of their own in acuna and albies. Not so much Riley and harris(who got more than I thought). I know injuries or a bellinger decline could happen but you have to bet on yourself to a certain extent if you believe in your ability, in my opinion. Plus this isn’t football, it’s a low contact sport and these aren’t pitchers
Bellinger was also injured.
Both Acuna and Albies have had significant missed time with injuries, already. Its too early to say whether they were fleeced, or smart to take the sure money.
I agree that neither side should get completely ripped off, but there has to be a bit of give and take when locking in years at big money so far in advance, especially with a catcher, who has arguably the roughest gig in the game. For example, if he tears something in his shoulder and can no longer throw well enough to play catcher, and thus gets relegated to 1B/DH, a huge portion of his value goes up in smoke.
Hopefully a comfortable middle ground can be reached and soon.
The effect he had on the team
Same with Stephenson on Cincy. 22-24 with Stephenson starting and 40-76 without. There is nothing like having a middle of the lineup catcher with a glove.
Absolutely, it makes constructing a competitive roster so much easier because you don’t have to try to make up the lost offense from the catcher spot elsewhere.
It’s kind of funny, growing up an Orioles fan in the late 80s and 90s, I actually thought catcher was a big run-producing lineup spot because us O’s fans of the era were spoiled with the likes of Mickey Tettleton (128 OPS+ in 3 years as an Oriole), Chris Hoiles (119 OPS+ in 10 years as an Oriole), and Charles Johnson (113 OPS+ in 2 years as an Oriole) and there were also a couple of big name slugging catchers like Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez out there too, so naturally I assumed a catcher smacking 20-30 bombs was the rule rather than the exception lol.
For the draft pick that the M’s get, where will it be? (Round, etc.)
I really hope Mike Elias makes a serious effort to lock Adley up long-term this offseason. It should be priority #1, IMO. Dude’s a special talent.
That’s really rushing a young talent. Let him learn the game some more before you landslide him with money.
If they wait until after next year and he REALLY breaks out, the chances of them being able to lock him up will pretty much vanish. Even now, he may not be interested, but they should do everything they can to get him extended anyway.
He’s going to break Realmuto’s contract record.
& I’m fine with it. Pay him—he’s special. I’d give him an 8 year deal now + some team options.
Was nervous they should’ve gone with Witt Jr. Adley is the real deal. Let’s go Os
Cheapsake O’s got busted lol. Shoulda got 2 years – he’s been ready long enough.
No, no. They’re the *Baltimore* Orioles, not the Chesapeake Orioles.
He was injured, genius.
Id love if they started allowing any reporters top-100 list to count lol
Hold on. ESPN rankings????
So, Disney paid MLB to legitimize their garbage sports platform? Keith Law was the last person there I’d maybe listen to. ESPN rankings are probably made by interns or dumb player commentators.
ESPN hired Kiley McDaniels from Fangraphs. Their prospect coverage isn’t good (and certainly worse than some outlets whose lists aren’t recognized by the MLB), but it isn’t ridiculously bad either. And don’t forget that the MLB wants ESPN to increase their baseball contents.
Peacock and Apple+ have just as many exclusive games as ESPN. MLB wants everyone to increase their baseball content. Even Peter Gammons is leaving.
Best Screenname Ever
Ridiculous rule change. Orioles lose a year of Rutschman as a pretend solution to a pretend problem.
Rutschman earned it. He should be the recipient of his own production.
They should of had him work on his defense or learn to play the outfield for position flexibility.
Dumpster Divin Theo
That much closer to being a Yankee or Red Sock. As he already has a lot of game day experience playing in front of Yankee and Red Sox fans in his home park.
Adley Harris and Julio are all 3 unicorns; rookies don’t dominate the zone like these guys do. Rookies don’t make adjustments at the plate like these guys. They will mash anything over and they all know how to get a pitch to hit.
Seriously I think these three along with Strider; health permitted….we’re probably talking about the greatest rookie class of all time. And I’m saying that after year one with confidence.
I wonder if our Bonus Pool money increases after being awarded an extra pick?
I kinda like the rule of not getting a pick here.
Sure it hurts the orioles tremendously but the rule kinda means service time manipulation is a big risk because if you service time manipulate and your guy wins the award you lose the year gained plus you don’t get a pick so it is a double punishment.
This means if you have a clear favorite to win the ROY or at least finish top3 you basically have to either start him at opening day (to get the pick) or wait till august so he won’t win hardware because if you call him up in early may and he wins the award you lose everything.
This is a tough punishment for the orioles but that’s what is was supposed to be.
I love what elias did overall but I actually think that was quite a mistake he made here.
Elias must have known rutschman would most likely finish top2-3 in the ROY so he would lose the extra year gained.
So why didn’t he call him up right away or wait until late july so rutschman doesn’t win an award? Did he just miss that or did he plan to keep him down and the good run by the orioles forced his hand (which is a good reason of course)?
He was injured at the start. No manipulation. Just injured.
C Yards Jeff
Injuries. Yuk! Looks like the plan was to get Adley and Rodriguez acclimated to the bigs in 22. Both got delayed and in the case of Rodriguez; big time.
Also, it was the FO’s hopes that Hall would get comfy up here too. Better stuff than Rodriguez but unfortunately a BonBs machine. Will he ever be relevant? Hope so. SP is goal, but if he becomes just a stud long relief guy or lights out closer, the Os will take that to.
DL feels like a lights out reliever.
The hope is that he can still become a Blake snell type starter. Snell also had shaky command coming up. But we shall see if DL gets there.
Adley’s no Matt Wieters. Thankfully.
People crap on Wieters because dumbarse pundits hyped him up as “switch-hitting Jesus” and he didn’t quite live up to that title, but he was still a top 5ish catcher during his peak years.
Any team that didn’t have a Buster Posey or a Joe Mauer would have been pretty thrilled to have a Matt Wieters.
May Wieters was a good catcher and good baseball player in general. His only issue was the high level of hype he had to try to live and play up to. It wasn’t his fault with that.
Dumpster Divin Theo
May Wieters, any relation to June Cleaver?
Positing this on every thread that pops up!!!! This is the problem with baseball. The writers determine everything! ESPN has Alcantara winning cy young in a landslide 13-0. Ok. Here are some FACTS!!!! 17 earned runs to Philly in 6 games…..7 earned runs in 2 games against the dodgers…..10 earned runs against the Mets in 3 games. 5 earned runs against Seattle in 1 game. That’s the cy young? really? He beat non playoff teams up! That’s the cy young! Are you kidding me?????
You conveniently left out the Braves, Cardinals, and Padres. I’m calculating about 2.50 ERA against all playoff teams.
You also forgot some of his season numbers: the 0.980 WHIP, 2.28 ERA, a major league best 228.2 IP, 6 complete games, a 2.99 FIP and 178 ERA+. Only Urias had a lower ERA, and while a few guys had more strikeouts or even lower FIP, only Nola was within 25 IP, so Alcantara was as good as anyone and did it for longer. You can make a case for a handful of guys, but Alcantara would get my vote.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Temper tantrum much?
Not saying he deserved ROY over Julio, but it does kind of suck for him that in practically every other year, he’d have won the award easily. Still too early to tell for sure who will have the better career, but Rutschman could scarcely have asked for a better start.
C Yards Jeff
Adley may never come close to winning one of these types of awards again; unless he dramatically cuts back on his penchant for walking. Right now he’s a table setter offensively. IE. gets on base plus low K%. Which is great. That said; when you project numbers over a full 162 game season no wonder JR won this award. Based on it, he’s the guy that drives in the table setters.
I think the power will come in as he gets more comfortable. C is the most mentally demanding position in baseball and he handled the defensive end extremely well, especially for a rookie. There are a ton of things that C’s do that they don’t get any credit for in the box score. Plus, while there are a number of great CF, how many great C’s are there? He may not win an MVP (we don’t know that Julio will ever win one yet), but he’s still plenty valuable and so far looks like a perennial All-Star, perhaps a perennial All-Star starter.
Orioles, give the man an extension while it still might come cheap. The leader of the Orioles for years to come, Adley Rutschman.
C Yards Jeff
@hyrax; great stuff. With that logic, definitely need to extend the man! Cheers!