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MLB Prospect Watch: Adley Rutschman Helps Surging Orioles, Lives Up to Hype

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I have a silly question to pose in early July. Can Adley Rutschman surpass Julio Rodríguez for the American League Rookie of the Year Award?

At the time, Lutschman was a month into his major league career and was in a brawl. 220/.287/.407 in his June, and in 32 games he had three home runs. Conversely, Rodriguez spent the entire season in the majors, slashing his line with a .272/.333/.466 batting average in 77 games and he had 13 home runs. No one questioned Lutschmann’s future, but he didn’t think he would hurt Rodriguez.

Since then? Rutschman showed why CBS Sports ranked him as the sport’s best prospect going into the spring. and walks (27) over strikeouts (20). He’s one of the key drivers behind the Orioles’ surge. Rodriguez is also doing well with a .884 batting average, but injuries have limited his playing time lately, giving Lucciman a close chance.

There’s no easy way to determine the actual distance between two players in the eyes of voters, but one way to measure this sort of thing is to measure the gap in metrics that outperform various exchanges. is to consider That means Rutschman is 0.4 wins behind him in both the Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs calculations. But he’s more than just a win, according to the Baseball-Reference framework. There is time for these marks to change, but it seems fair to write that Rodriguez remains a solid frontrunner for the current awards.

Of course, this doesn’t detract from what Lutschmann has accomplished this summer, but is proof of his recent tears that it’s even a topic worthy of consideration. continues to prove that it can serve as a balanced backstop for the franchise’s calibres.

Rutschman checked most of these boxes recently. At the plate, he displayed a keen eye and a sense for making contact, often of the line-drive type. ), his power numbers are not as good as expected. raw strength. Note that both of these aspects may be a by-product of the small sample size. For example, he has hit fewer than 100 at-bats against lefties ever, but it’s worth wondering if Camden’s redesigned leftfield dimensions have anything to do with his relative blackouts: His ISO on the road is 80 points higher than his at home. Either way, we’re not too worried about those scars yet.

Behind the plate, Lutschmann leaves no question about his defense. He was always considered a field general type who could manage a pitching staff. His catch-and-throw his skills justified their hype. He ranks 8th in the majors in his Framing Runs Add Above Average, alongside the likes of Sean Murphy and Yasmani Grandal. According to Statcast, Lutschmann’s pop time to second base (that is, the time it takes him to catch the ball, transfer it, and throw it to the infielder responsible for the bag) ranks in the 88th percentile. Most stolen bases are taken from the pitcher, not the catcher. It looks like Lutschman can hold out at the end of the negotiations if the pitcher gives him a chance.

All things considered, it’s reasonable to assume that this won’t be the last time Lutschmann (or Rodriguez) will be competing for the award.