BALTIMORE, Md. — After a summer of barren ballparks and desolate diamonds, minor league baseball is back.
The professional development leagues all around the country start back up Tuesday night. For the Orioles that means first pitches for Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie, Low-A Delmarva and their new High-A affiliate in Aberdeen.
"It’s been a long time coming. I guess now over a year-and-a-half," said Orioles Director of Player Development Matt Blood. "Everybody wants to get out there to play and compete. Just about every single person is just thrilled."
That includes the Birds’ top prospect, Adley Rutschman.
"Just to get back out there again, get that adrenaline going, it’s going to be exciting and I’m just stoked," he said.
Rutschman, the first overall draft pick of 2019, is one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He suited up for some games in the low minors two years ago and a few for the O’s this spring. The future face of this franchise’s first full minor league season starts with the Bowie Baysox. He’s more than ready to get back to the grind.
"Now you get to go out on a nightly basis and get four at-bats and be able to catch someone and call a game and get your adrenaline going," he said. "That means a lot and is definitely going to help you grow as a baseball player."
The expectations for the 23-year-old catcher will be immense. That’s okay.
"There’s always going to be expectations. I have to be able to control what I can control and other people’s expectations don’t really fall into that category. That’s kind of how I’ve always treated it and it’s seemed to work out so far," said Rutschman.
It’s all about the future for Rutschman and his teammates.
"A lot of our topics of conversation are always just about how excited we are to continue to help the Orioles and try and do our best to get there and hopefully win a World Series together and what that would look like and all the potential ahead."