A subplot of this stand-off between the MLB and MLBPA is how duplicitous will MLB teams be in their excuses to not promote a top prospect if there’s no minor league season, which seems assured, at this point. What will the Orioles say to not promote Adley Rutschman? “We really wanted to promote Adley but we lost his phone number and they’ve discontinued 411, go figure.” “We wanted to promote Adley, but, after reading the Kama Sutra, we’re inclined to withhold climax for six to nine months.” “We did promote Adley. He’s now in charge of selling season tickets for the 2021 season. We have faith he can handle the promotion.” One thing they can’t say with a straight face: “We really wanted to promote Adley Rutschman but he’s not ready.” So, they hold him down and he misses a full year of development? That seems dumb, even for them. However, you can’t go too wrong betting MLB teams will be dumb. Yes, I’m saying I’m not 100% guaranteeing Adley Rutschman sees real playing time this year, but he’s got a lot more of a chance this year now, than he had before. “Did someone say Chance?” Shut up, Chance Sisco! So, what can we expect from Adley Rutschman for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?
First I wanted to grab a quote from Prospect Hobbs’s piece on who he thinks will be the 2023 All-Stars at each position, “Adley Rutschman takes the cake at the catcher position for the 2023 All-COVID Team because I honestly do expect him to be the best catcher in the game three-plus years from now. In his Dynasty Catcher Rankings for 2021 Fantasy Baseball, The Itch ranked Rutschman sixth overall behind only Realmuto, Contreras, Mitch Garver, Yasmani Grandal and Gary Sanchez. The youngest within this quartet are Contreras and Sanchez, who will both be 30 years of age come the start of the 2023 campaign. Yes, there are names like Francisco Mejia (ranked No. 11, currently 24 years old) and Sean Murphy (ranked No. 8, currently 25 years old) who represent interesting competition pieces, but don’t possess the offensive ceiling that Rutschman does. Rutschman slashed .254/.351/.423 with four homers (13 XHB), 26 RBI, 19 runs and one steal in his first 154 professional plate appearances in 2019 which he split across rookie-level, Low-A and Class-A. One steal. Damn that’s sexy. What’s sexier is the 27-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio seen in his first taste of the minors, translating to a 17.4 K% and 12.9 BB%. Rutsch-ell Crowe, as I like to call him, came out of college with a 60-grade hit tool and 60-power, so the sky is the limit here offensively from a positional perspective. Don’t expect Realmutoan-esque steals with the 40-grade legs and one steal in 155 pro plate appearances, but he’s at the position to stay (true catcher) and could suck a whole lot less than what we’ve become accustomed to at the position from a fantasy perspective. Speaking of sucking, Grey sucks.” What the hell, my dude! That covers just about everything you need to know about Adley Rutschman. The two numbers that really stick out to me, and I 100% agree with are: 60 and 60 for his hit tool and power grades. He also signed for $8.1 million and tore up college baseball, so, if money’s an issue for the O’s, it’s as in they want to recoup some investment they’ve already made, and he’s more than ready, due to college ball, even if his minor league career is limited thus far. He’s going to be a 25-homer, .280+ hitter. Maybe not this year, but not too far off in the distance. If the O’s are smart, they’ll treat this year like Adley’s Triple-A year and just promote him to be their starting catcher. Let him sink or swim, and he will likely swim, which makes him a great dart throw, to mix metaphors and recreational activities.