Now that the Orioles have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman, they must decide how to ease the Oregon State catcher into his first professional season.
Rutschman reported to the Orioles’ Sarasota, Fla., complex for workouts with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team. He eventually will join short-season Aberdeen after knocking off rust from an extended period of inactivity. Oregon State bowed out of the NCAA Tournament at regionals in early June.
“I think we’ll let his play determine how fast he moves,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said. “Every player’s different. Every first-round pick is different . . . I always believe in starting (players) at the lower level because it’s very easy to transfer them if they’re performing well.
“He’s done a lot in his life and his career so far to earn this opportunity, and I’m very confident that he’s going to seize it and take it to great places.”
Rutschman was drafted to catch, but he won’t spend every game behind the plate. The switch-hitter will also get at-bats at first base and DH.
“He’s not going to catch every single day of the week. Nobody does in the minor leagues,” Elias said. “I think one consideration with him is we feel his defense is fairly polished, so we don’t know that he needs to log a ton of development innings at the catching position.
“The at-bats are probably going to be more important for his minor league development. But certainly we want to keep him catching and get him some experience catching in pro ball and with pitchers he hasn’t worked with—pro pitchers, pitchers from Latin America. There is a lot that goes into that.”
Rutschman received a record $8.1 million bonus that eclipsed the $8 million Gerrit Cole received as the top overall pick in 2011. However, Rutschman came in under the slot value of $8,415,300.
The Orioles are more than comfortable with choosing Rutschman.
“We are in a phase right now where we’re looking for building blocks,” Elias said, “and I think that by signing Adley Rutschman we found a very big piece.”
— The Orioles also signed second-round pick Gunnar Henderson, an Alabama prep shortstop who received an over-slot bonus of $2.3 million after he hit .559 with 11 home runs and 75 RBIs in 32 games.
— Four members of Double-A Bowie were chosen for the Eastern League all-star game: lefthanders Zac Lowther and Alex Wells, shortstop Mason McCoy and third baseman Rylan Bannon. The Orioles acquired Bannon and four other players from the Dodgers last summer in the Manny Machado trade.