It’s go time. Or is it?
A lot of Orioles fans, including me, saw Matt Wieters play for Double-A Bowie in 2007. Two years later, everyone saw his Camden Yards debut, complete with a standing ovation from a modest crowd.
It doesn’t seem possible Wieters is now a 13-year veteran and free agent who last played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020.
Now Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, consensus No. 2 prospect in baseball, and the Orioles’ latest supernova-in-waiting, will soon take center stage with the Orioles, and a new cycle will start. That’s the wishful thinking of most high paid analysts who have been predicting May 16 as the big debut since his rehab stint began two weeks ago.
Today was the last game of Norfolk’s homestand against Memphis, and Monday, the Orioles open a seven-game homestand by entertaining the New York Yankees in the first of a four-game series at Camden Yards.
But wait. The hoped-for official announcement of Rutschman’s promotion hasn’t been made yet. Here are some possible reasons Birdland is being kept waiting.
With Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Memphis, Rutschman, who went a combined 0-for-7 over the weekend with a walk, saw his average dip to .194, which does not scream, “Promote me!”
He was the first pick of Mike Elias’ first draft as Executive Vice President and GM in 2019. Is Elias holding tight because he wants his prize to pick it up a little, so that he can be brought up to the major leagues on an upswing?
It’s possible Elias does not want to send a message to the entire farm system that you can make it to the majors by hitting .194. That would convey a dangerous, prima donna signal to every other player.
But the numbers themselves might not matter that much. The stated goal of Rutschman’s rehab journey was to get his timing back and get healthy, and the x-factor is whether Elias and the Norfolk coaching staff feel that has been accomplished.
Rutschman is and will be a very good, if not top-flite player and team leader. But he will make his mistakes in the early going, prove himself human, have struggles like most players and have a learning curve, although his might be quicker, if all the rave notices are true.
When do you think Rutschman will make his debut? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
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