Glenn Clark: Expectations For Orioles Prospect Adley Rutschman Are Outlandish, Unreasonable … And Necessary?

So it looks like we’ll be out for a week.

There’s nothing official yet, but the general belief is that baseball’s No. 1 Adleyrutschman will make his debut for the Baltimore Orioles when the Yankees come to town next week. It will present the first truly significant moment at Camden Yards since the Buck Showalter era.

As Slipman looks set to play his final week in the Minors, two very conflicting thoughts run through my mind regarding his upcoming debut. (I mean apart from the obvious excitement of the moment and the expanded interest in the team that will arrive with the new catcher.)

The first thought seems almost like a disclaimer. Admittedly, I’m concerned that our expectations of TRUTSCHMAN are so far off the mark that he may not be able to meet them. We’ve used Matt Wieters as a reference so many times since 2019 that the conversation almost numbs us. But the comparison remains real. Wieters was a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner who was a cornerstone for the best Orioles teams of the century.

And yet our expectations were so outrageous (due in part to the grim reality of when it arrived in 2009) that it is viewed by a significant segment of the fan base as at least a minor disappointment.

Even if we should know better, the expectations ofrutschmann are… even more significant than they originally were for Wieters. You know, the guy we called “Mauer With Power” and literally “JESUS ​​IN STOCKELN”. Our expectations ofrutschman are even more important than the damned Jesus. The only wayrutschman can rise to the level we expect is if he swings Mike Piazza’s racquet AND has Ivan Rodriguez’s catching ability.

We set a damn near impossible standard.

rutschman is obviously very special. Perhaps you have now read more about him on the pages of the current PresseBox. He’s a little different than even your average top prospect over the years. It’s hard to imagine that he hasn’t achieved at least some notoriety within the sport. But Wieters has seen a lot of fame in his career. If Schiebemann turns out to be Wieters, that will be an even greater disappointment than if Wieters turned out to be Wieters.

(For the record, I’m not saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE thatrutschman will turn out to be the Piazza-Pudge lovechild we’re desperate for. I’m just saying there’s at least a 1 percent chance he won’t will prove to be the greatest player in the history of the sport.)

So this feels like I should say something like “Please temper your exorbitant expectations”. But remember… my second thought creates a significant conflict. Because my second thought is more like, “But if he doesn’t become this Piazza Pudge cyborg, is there any hope for the Orioles?” Doesn’t he have to be great for this to work?”

That’s the part I can’t shake off. It’s the part where the entire rebuilding of the Orioles seems to depend on Slipman achieving ‘GOAT’-like status. The Orioles organization has been lauded as the number one in baseball, but that ranking vanishes once Slipman arrives in Charm City. While Grayson Rodriguez’s prominence will keep the Birds near the top of the leaderboard, their status reflects the top-heavy nature of showcasing the sport’s top player and pitching prospects.

The Orioles have other talented players throughout the organization and have another No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s MLB draft. But unlessrutschman becomes a towering Superstar, it’s hard to imagine how this rebuild could produce a roster capable of winning a World Series, especially if it comes through the brutal AL East. There’s certainly enough talent and potential talent for the Orioles to be competitive, as long asrutschman proves to be a really solid baseball player. But winning a World Series?

I mean, even ifrutschman becomes a historical player type, they’ll still need some other players to exceed expectations to create a championship-level roster. There’s a possibility thatrutschman could be the greatest catcher in modern baseball history and the Orioles still may not be able to produce a full group capable of winning a World Series. But it’s almost impossible to imagine them being able to do it without that guy thatrutschman is.

Which, again, is a completely unfair expectation. It’s fancy, it’s unreasonable, it’s all of the above. But it might also be necessary in the bigger picture of where the Orioles are in their rebuilding process.

Credit: Eric Nalpas/Baltimore Orioles

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