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Saturday Bird Droppings: Let 2021 be the year of Adley Rutschman

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There is no real news, but we do have a Rutschman scouting report, a hypothetical and some power rankings.

Baltimore Orioles v Atlanta Braves Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Expectations for the Orioles, in general, in 2021 are low. But there is still one particular thing that fans and analysts alike are downright giddy about.

Adley Rutschman

Despite not playing any actual games this past year due to the cancelled minor league season, Rutschman has remained a main character in blogs and articles for months. Just this week MLB Pipeline published a list of prospects they expect to debut this year, and Rutschman is featured.

“[H]e was the best player at the team’s alternate training site in Bowie over the summer, wowing the Orioles with his attention to detail and his all-around tools that made him the clear choice to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 Draft. It shouldn’t take him too long to make it to Baltimore and become the face of the franchise.”

But am I crazy to think that Rutschman actually won’t make it to the big leagues in 2021? It won’t be because he can’t handle the level. All reports indicate that he could step in right now and be an above-average major league backstop with plenty of room to grow.

It would just be so easy for the O’s to make the argument that Rutschman could use more seasoning. After all, he didn’t play any competitive games in 2020, and the minor league season remains up in the air for 2021. On top of that, it is possible that MLB’s season will be shortened by at least a month. And finally, the O’s are going to be pretty bad again this year. Would promoting the catcher in 2021 allow them to maximize his value?

I know it sucks to talk like this about prospects. In an ideal setting they would make it to Baltimore as soon as they appear ready. But that isn’t how Mike Elias approaches these things, and we shouldn’t be caught off guard if it doesn’t go down the way that we hope.

Links

Hess on Rutschman: “He’s the real deal” | School of Roch
This post includes an interesting scouting report perspective. David Hess is in the Rays organization now, but that doesn’t stop him from giving some praise to a bundle of O’s youngsters, including Adley Rutschman, Issac Mattson, DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez.

Would O’s trade a Cy Young winner with three years left on deal? | Steve Melewski
If the Orioles were in the same position as the Padres were (playoff-worthy roster, stocked minor league system) when they made this deal, then yes I would hope so.

Here are the 1st Power Rankings of 2021 | MLB.com
This particular group of MLB writers does not, in fact, believe that the Orioles are the worst team in the sport. That’s nice.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Garrett Stephenson turns 49 today. The Maryland native was drafted by the O’s out of BYU in 1992. He went on to appear in just three games for the 1996 squad before he was dealt to the Phillies in the deal that landed Tood Zeile and Pete Incaviglia in Baltimore.

Happy 70th birthday to Royle Stillman, a former outfielder for the O’s from 1975-76. He went 8-for-36 across 33 total games with the Birds. He was one of the prospects that the Orioles acquire in the 1971 trade that sent Frank Robinson to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This day in history

1986 - Bill Veeck, the former owner of the St. Louis Browns who orchestrated the franchise’s move to Baltimore, dies at the age of 71.