O’s Adley Rutschman bats cleanup in Futures Game (O’s lose)

Orioles top prospect Adley Rutschman had a prime spot in the batting order today in the All-Star Futures Game at Denver’s Coors Field.

Rutschman began the game as the catcher and batting fourth for the American League team. He is the No. 2 prospect in the sport, but the No. 1 player remaining on the farm with shortstop Wander Franco now in the majors with Tampa Bay.

Thumbnail image for Rutschman-Swings-Bowie-Sidebar.jpgIn his first at-bat, leading off the top of the second for the AL team, Rutschman flied out to short left field. He hit a 1-0 pitch, a cut fastball, from Miami pitching prospect right-hander Max Meyer, ranked as MLBPipeline.com’s No. 20 prospect in its top 100.

He drew a four-pitch walk in the fourth, batting off Pittsburgh right-hander Quinn Priester.

Rutschman did blast a third-deck 468-foot batting practice homer before the game, and it was replayed on the MLB Network telecast.

Rutschman has been outstanding this year on the O’s farm for Double-A Bowie.

Over 56 games, he’s hitting .283/.413/.507/.921 with 10 doubles, 12 homers, 42 runs and 37 RBIs. He has walked 43 times and struck out 39. His 16.9 walk rate ties teammate Patrick Dorrian for best among all on the O’s farm. He is tied for the organization lead in homers with high Single-A Aberdeen’s JD Mundy and his OPS is second only to Mundy.

Bowie manager Buck Britton recently told me that Rutschman has checked about every box he has needed to for this season. He doesn’t have any big remaining player development goals left for the player taken No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft.

“I think it’s just getting him reps,” Britton said. “Not that we’ve played some teams a second time, especially after a six-game series, the next time they make adjustments. It’s really the first time he’s had to make some adjustments. But I joke all the time. I’m kind of still waiting for Adley to get hot. I look up at the scoreboard every night and it’s .290 with 11 homers. Dang, when he gets hot how crazy will this be? He walks a ton. He’s just a really, really good hitter. But I haven’t seen him get on a torrid stretch when he goes like 15-for-20. But it’s the same guy. It’s just what he does.

“I think he’ll continue to grow. He’s getting great reps behind the plate, catching a lot of different guys. I don’t know what to expect, honestly. I know he’s going to get better, and when he does it will be fun to watch.”

Right-hander Marcos Diplán is also on the AL roster representing the Orioles. The 24-year-old has gone 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk. Over 17 1/3 innings. He has walked six and fanned 22. The Orioles acquired him via waivers from the Detroit Tigers on Dec. 9, 2019 at the Winter Meetings.

O’s fall in All-Star break finale: Trey Mancini, a day before he competes in the Home Run Derby competition at the All-Star game, hit a pretty dramatic homer today at Camden Yards.

His two-run shot with two outs in the ninth tied the game 4-4 against the Chicago White Sox. Mancini hit No. 16 against one of the game’s best closers in Liam Hendriks.

But Chicago’s Adam Engel hit a three-run shot in the 10th off Tyler Wells to provide the Sox a 7-5 victory.

Earlier, O’s righty Spenser Watkins pitched well again and Austin Hays hit a two-run homer in the first inning. But an early O’s lead did not hold up today.

They head into the break with a record of 28-61 and have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.

Watkins allowed four hits and one run over 4 1/3 innings. He walked three, fanned four and threw 83 pitches. He has a 1.74 ERA after three major league games, two starts.

Chicago’s Andrew Vaughn homered twice for the White Sox, now 54-35. His three-run homer off Cole Sulser in the sixth turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Chicago swept the three games by a combined 27-8 score.

The O’s have gone 0-7 on the year against Chicago.

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