BOWIE, Md. — He is the 23-year-old phenom the Orioles hope is the future face of their franchise. So far Adley Rutschman is living up to expectations in the minor leagues.
"It’s been great so far and a lot more to look forward to," he said.
Rutschman is thriving in his first full professional season at Double-A Bowie. WMAR-2 Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner caught up with him for Rutschman's first in-person interview of the 2021 season.
"I feel pretty good right now. I know I’m not where I’m going to be at and that’s always the goal, is just to be getting better."
He has built up a good jumping-off point.
The No. 1 overall draft pick of 2019 is rated the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball. In 17 games this season Rutschman leads all Double-A catchers with four home runs and leads all of Double-A with 17 walks. He has 13 RBI while batting .246.
Back to the homers, he has hit some massive ones, including one nine days ago off his face on the video board.
"That’s a first for me," he laughed.
Well, face it, he’s handling the pressure of leading this Orioles rebuild as well as anyone could have hoped.
"The expectations I put on myself I feel like are the highest anyone could put on me. I always feel like the expectations are background noise," he said. "My biggest focus has been controlling the controllables and being able to work on my process and become the best baseball player I can be."
Regarding his timeline on reaching the Majors, Rutschman said he’s doesn’t know that timeline and he’s not focused on it. He says if he focuses on the everyday process right now the results will come.
He has led the Baysox to a 13-4 record which is the best in Double-A. They are undefeated at home. And he's leading the team on and off the field. How he carries himself is important to him.
"To me it's everything. How you act on the baseball field, how you act outside of the baseball field and how your relationships work with people I think that's more important than anything that you do on the baseball field," he said. "I always believe that people are going to remember you more for the relationships and how you treated people than what you did on the baseball field."