The Orioles today announced the winners of their player development and scouting awards for 2021, including C ADLEY RUTSCHMAN and OF KYLE STOWERS as the club’s top minor league players and RHP GRAYSON RODRIGUEZ as the club’s top minor league pitcher. The award winners will be honored in an on-field ceremony prior the game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, September 28, with awards presented by Director of Player Development MATT BLOOD, Director of Minor League Operations KENT QUALLS, and Supervisor of Domestic Scouting Operations BRAD CIOLEK.
C ADLEY RUTSCHMAN has been named Orioles Brooks Robinson Minor League Co-Player of the Year. Rutschman, 23, is the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. He began the year with Double-A Bowie before earning a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk on August 10. In 37 games with the Tides through September 25, Rutschman is batting .321/.415/.530 (43-for-134) with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs, 22 runs scored, 19 RBI, and 21 walks. He slashed .271/.392/.508 (80-for-295) with 16 doubles, 18 home runs, 61 runs scored, 55 RBI, and 55 walks in 80 games for the Baysox this season, en route to being selected to the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. His .914 OPS in 117 games between Bowie and Norfolk leads all Orioles minor leaguers. Rutschman earned Orioles Minor League Player of the Month honors in August after batting .337/.408/.511 (31-for-92) with a .919 OPS, seven doubles, three home runs, 16 runs scored, 11 RBI, and nine walks in 24 games between Bowie and Norfolk. He was also named Double-A Northeast Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25. He slashed .409/.552/.955 (9-for-22) in six games for the Baysox in that span, with a 1.507 OPS, three doubles, three home runs, seven runs scored, 11 RBI, and seven walks. Rutschman was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 1 overall) of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Oregon State University.
OF KYLE STOWERS has been named Orioles Brooks Robinson Minor League Co-Player of the Year. Stowers, 23, has appeared in 119 games across three levels of the Orioles minor league system. He began the season with High-A Aberdeen before being promoted to Double-A Bowie on June 22 and Triple-A Norfolk on September 7. As of September 25, Stowers leads all Orioles minor leaguers with 27 home runs, 51 extra-base hits, and 228 total bases. He notched two multi-homer games for the Baysox this season and registered a career-high four RBI on September 3 prior to his promotion to Norfolk. Stowers has slashed .297/.375/.469 (19-for-64) in 17 games for the Tides through September 25, with two doubles, three home runs, nine runs scored, nine RBI, and eight walks. He earned Orioles Minor League Player of the Month honors in July after batting .340/.436/.640 (34-for-100) with a 1.076 OPS, nine doubles, seven home runs, 17 runs scored, 15 RBI, and 16 walks in 27 games for the Baysox. He is rated as the No. 11 prospect in the Orioles system by MLB Pipeline and No. 17 by Baseball America. Stowers was selected by the Orioles in the CBB round (No. 71 overall) of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Stanford University (CA).
RHP GRAYSON RODRIGUEZ has been named the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season. Rodriguez, 21, helped lead Double-A Bowie to the Double-A Northeast Championship following his promotion on June 1. Prior to his promotion, he was named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month and High-A East Pitcher of the Month for May after going 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA (4 ER/23.1 IP), five walks, 40 strikeouts, and a 0.69 WHIP in five starts for High-A Aberdeen. He struck out at least eight batters in three of the five outings, including 11 punchouts through 5.0 innings on May 15. Rodriguez surpassed that mark with a career-high 12 strikeouts through 5.0 innings on July 18 while with Double-A Bowie. He was named High-A East Pitcher of the Week on May 23 after tossing 6.0 scoreless innings with one hit and eight strikeouts in the IronBirds’ victory on May 21. He went 6-1 in 18 regular season starts for the Baysox, posting a 2.60 ERA (23 ER/79.2 IP), with 22 walks against 121 strikeouts. He had 30 more strikeouts than the next-closest pitcher on the club, and his innings pitched also led the team. His 121 strikeouts led all Double-A Northeast hurlers and ranked tied for fourth in all of Double-A baseball. He is rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, as well as the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball. He is ranked as the game’s No. 7 prospect by Baseball America and No. 8 by MLB Pipeline. Rodriguez was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 11 overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Heights (Texas) High School.
Bowie Manager BUCK BRITTON has been named the winner of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Player Development Award, named for the late Orioles coach and manager who is widely regarded as the architect of “The Oriole Way.” Each year, a minor league staff member who exemplifies Ripken’s qualities as an instructor is recognized with the award. Britton is in his fourth season as a coach in the Orioles system, and second as Bowie’s manager, after a nine-year professional career in the minor leagues from 2008-16, predominantly in the Orioles system. The Baysox finished the regular season with a record of 73-47, earning a trip to the 2021 Double-A Northeast Championship. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is Britton’s second-straight season leading his club to the finals, after playing in the 2019 Eastern League Championship Series.
Area scout BRANDON VERLEY will receive the Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award, named in honor of the man who spent 33 years in various scouting capacities with the Orioles beginning with their move from St. Louis in 1954. Verley has been a key member of the Orioles’ scouting operations for more than a decade, covering the Pacific Northwest – including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington – from 2010 to 2019. Since 2020, Verley has covered south Florida and Puerto Rico, recommending players for the First-Year Player Draft.
2021 AWARD WINNERS
Brooks Robinson Minor League Co-Player of the Year: Adley Rutschman (Bowie/Norfolk)
Brooks Robinson Minor League Co-Player of the Year: Kyle Stowers (Aberdeen/Bowie/Norfolk)
Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Grayson Rodriguez (Aberdeen/Bowie)
Cal Ripken, Sr. Player Development Award: Buck Britton (Bowie)
Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award: Brandon Verley