The Baltimore Orioles are legitimately a playoff contender.
They may not make the postseason, but so far, they have shown they are in the hunt for a spot probably a year or two earlier than anticipated.
Before Thursday’s games, they are 58-52, the same record of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Who would have thought that the O’s would challenge the Rays for a postseason spot?
Part of their recent success stems from their decision to call up catching prospect Adley Rutschman.
Rutschman, 24, is no longer a prospect: he is the real deal.
Only 63 games have been enough for him to lead the Orioles in Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, with 2.7, when most of his teammates have over 100 games played.
He is a special defensive catcher, with the ability to call games, a good throwing arm, and the ability to steal strikes via framing.
The Orioles’ Best Player
However, he is also an incredible hitter.
“Adley Rutschman hasn’t homered since July 16. Yet in the 18 games since, he’s hitting .356 with 8 doubles, 18 walks, only 9 strikeouts and has a 1.011 OPS,” MASN’s Paul Mancano tweeted.
Adley Rutschman hasn't homered since July 16.
Yet in the 18 games since, he's hitting .356 with 8 doubles, 18 walks, only 9 strikeouts and has a 1.011 OPS.
— Paul Mancano (@PaulMancano) August 11, 2022
There are two impressive numbers in that tweet: the first one is July 16, because it means he has been able to maintain elite production for almost a month now.
The other eyebrow-raiser is the plate discipline over that span: 18 walks against nine strikeouts is absolutely elite and speaks about his knowledge of the strike zone.
Rutschman is a special talent who is blossoming in his first season in orange.
Not only that, but he is also, quite probably, the Orioles’ best player at this point.
The future is bright in Baltimore, in large part thanks to Rutschman.