The Futures Game: A game to showcase the next best stars of baseball! All 30 teams are represented, with up to two players, making up two 25-man rosters of top prospects from around the league.
The Baltimore Orioles have been fortunate to have such players as Grayson (G-Rodzilla) Rodriguez, D.L. (Bring the Gas) Hall, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Zack Britton, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Mountcastle, and Alex Wells represented in this game. While not all have gone on to become stars for the Orioles, most have, and Rodriguez and Hall are making their climb to the majors.
This year, the Orioles will be sending two players; catcher Adley Rutschman and right-handed pitcher Marcos Diplán. Just to add a little fun to the mix, the Futures Game American League manager is former Orioles reliever, LaTroy Hawkins.
Most Orioles fans have yet to hear the name Marcos Diplán. The 24-year-old originally entered baseball as a free agent signee of the Texas Rangers in 2013. Since then, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a package that brought future Oriole pitcher, Yovanni Gallardo, to Texas. He followed with stints with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers, before the Orioles claimed him off waivers.
The Orioles have invited him to spring training the last two years, both times being sent to the Norfolk Tides. This year, he has appeared in 11 games, going 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Across 14 innings, he has given up four runs, while walking five and striking out 17. He holds a 33-29 career record, where, before this year, was mostly in starts across his minor league career.
Of course, the name every Orioles fan is wanting and waiting to see is catcher, Adley Rutschman, the first overall pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2019. Rutschman has played a total of 84 games since the Orioles drafted him, though many fans are clamoring to bring him up to the bigs for the draw and spectacle that he will bring to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The 2019 season saw Adley push through three different Single-A leagues, where he batted a combined .254 with four home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 20 walks in 37 games. At this time, the young phenom was turning heads, but a lost 2020 season left the former No. 1 overall pick with only 37 games played since being drafted.
With a determination to be the hyped up player everyone has made him out to be, Rutschman entered 2021 with a goal in mind; get better and keep improving. In 47 games at Double-A Bowie, not only has he crushed 11 homers, he has 32 runs batted in, 37 runs scored, 49 hits, and more walks than strikeouts (40 walks to 35 strikeouts).
What makes Rutschman’s season more impressive is that he leads the Orioles’ minor league system in hits, home runs, walks, and on-base percentage, while being amongst the leaders in several statistical categories in the MiLB Double-A system.
Fun Fact: In 2016 Adley Rutschman was drafted in the 40th round of the Amature Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
While it isn’t the MLB All-Star Game, these future stars get a chance to shine in front of many big league players, coaches, and general managers. They will get to play on a big league diamond for the first time and get that taste of the majors, even if it’s just for a moment.
The time of growing up in the back yard and pretending to hit the game-winning home run, or striking out the last batter to secure the victory, has a chance to come true for these young men. It might be a dream to young boys, but to these men, it has become a reality.
Congratulations Marcos and Adley! Make Birdland proud!
You can catch the 2021 All-Star Futures Game Sunday July 11, from beautiful Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, only on MLB Network! First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET.
Which future star are you looking forward to watching the most in the 2021 All-Star Futures Game? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our podcast, The Walk-Off, on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #thebaltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!