Rutschman, Hall get call to Triple-A Norfolk

Baltimore's No. 1 and No. 5 prospects are now one step from big leagues

May 5th, 2022

BOWIE, Md. -- Adley Rutschman and D.L. Hall made a start together on Thursday afternoon, their second in just under a week, for Double-A Bowie. They then appeared on the radio, together, with 105.7 The Fan, on the concourse of Prince George's Stadium. Next was an on-camera appearance with a few reporters in the stands, a tad surprised when asked to conduct the interviews on their own.

That’d be the last thing they did separately that day.

Less than an hour later, they were en route to Nashville.

Rutschman and Hall were promoted to Triple-A Norfolk following a dynamite outing together for the Baysox -- a tide-turning moment in this Orioles rebuild that now has each just one call away from their much-anticipated Major League debuts.

“I try and look at it as just another stop,” Hall said in Bowie, before word of his promotion spread. “Because, you know, there's a lot bigger plan, I feel. I'm working towards that big goal. I'm just ready to keep it going.”

For Rutschman, ranked as the O’s top prospect and No. 2 in baseball by MLB Pipeline, the callup marks a full-circle moment in his rehab tour from a right triceps strain, which has spanned from extended spring training to High-A Aberdeen and Bowie. It’s also expected to result in a callup to the Majors, very likely before the end of May. 

After a two-hit performance on Thursday, he’s expected to be in Norfolk’s lineup on Friday -- back to where he left off the 2021 season.

Rutschman is hitting 11-for-25 (.440) with a .517 on-base percentage through his first seven games, lining up at catcher four times and designated hitter for three. Thursday was his second time catching all nine innings in a span of three days.

“I felt like I've been able to put together good [at-bats] so far, see a lot of pitches, be able to try and get my timing back,” Rutschman said. “When I get pitches in the zone, be able to drive them. Just continuing to work on that.”

For Hall, Baltimore’s No. 5 prospect and No. 88 in baseball, it’s his first callup to Triple-A -- and a significant affirmation of his health. Thursday’s outing at Bowie was the left-hander’s first start back in Double-A since a stress reaction in his left elbow ended his season there last June.

So, Thursday’s start -- two runs on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts across 3 2/3 innings -- was a milestone. Arguably more important is that he walked just a single batter and threw only two balls (as well as an automatic ball due to the pitch clock) among the 21 pitches required in his first two innings, and four strikeouts of his first six batters.

Never has the concern been around Hall’s stuff -- sitting 96-99 mph on Thursday and touching 100 mph – which was made all the more lethal with his breaking and offspeed pitches. But it’s been about his approach -- namely, throwing strikes -- and also now his health.

Both those were addressed during a rejuvenating 11-month injury layoff.

“I had a lot of off time, and I had a lot of time to learn how much that I underappreciated baseball and just being out there,” Hall said. “Now it's like, every game that I get to go out and step out there and toe that rubber is a blessing. I'm just super thankful to be back on the field. … I'm just excited to keep showing it.”

The biggest thing missing from the Hall-Rutschman battery was their third musketeer, Grayson Rodriguez. They now join the top pitching prospect in baseball at the highest level of the Minor League circuit. It’s a trio that resembles the greatest hopes of the O’s rebuild and replenished farm system, not only because of their pedigree, but because of the relationship they’ve fostered through the Minors, a front-facing group that shies away from no camera or spotlight.

Now, the Orioles will be judicious in when they call up each prospect. Manager Brandon Hyde said prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Twins at Camden Yards that no need or trend at the Major League club will dictate their arrivals. Rather, it’s when “you feel like they’re ready to compete in the big league. It's not an overnight decision,” he said

But all just one phone call away, it’s just a matter of time until they’re playing in conjunction in Baltimore -- and offering the fullest sign this rebuild is steering into its next wave.

“I have no idea when it's going to happen,” Rutschman said. “But I'll just try and be as ready as I can when and if I get the call. That's my job, and I'm just going to continue to focus on getting better, with D.L. over here.”