Rutschman invited to Orioles camp

January 28th, 2020

BALTIMORE -- The show is coming to Sarasota, Fla., this spring.

Rutschman, the No. 4 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline and the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, was among 23 non-roster players invited to Baltimore's Major League Spring Training, the club announced on Tuesday.

Pitchers and catchers must report to the club’s Ed Smith Stadium on Feb. 11, with the first official workout scheduled for Feb. 12. Orioles general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias said during the Winter Meetings that Rutschman was likely to make an appearance in big league camp in some capacity.

“We would love to get [him] to the Major League side,” Elias said in December. "He’s a catcher, which is always useful, and I think it’s great exposure for him to get the Major League side of Spring Training and learn the whole organization.”

That’ll be the goal for what should be a brief but productive stay with the big leaguers for Rutschman, who isn’t a realistic candidate to break camp with the club just yet. The idea is to give him the chance to get his feet wet, acclimate to some of the system’s upper-level pitchers and see some exhibition at-bats against better competition. The Orioles open their spring schedule on Feb. 22 vs. Atlanta at CoolToday Park. Their first home game is set for the following afternoon against Boston.

The switch-hitting former Golden Spikes Award winner, Rutschman reached Class A Delmarva in his first pro season after signing for an $8.1 million bonus. He hit .254/.351/.423 with four homers in 37 games across three levels, rising from the Gulf Coast League to Class A Short-Season Aberdeen and eventually Delmarva. Rutschman was recently named MLB’s top catching prospect by MLB Pipeline, and he is viewed by some as one of the best prospects of the past decade. Rutschman is expected to begin the 2020 season at Delmarva, with the expectation that he could rise quickly if he performs well.