Adley Rutschman's tour of the mid-Atlantic is taking him one step closer to Baltimore.
The Orioles are promoting their top prospect from Class A Short Season Aberdeen to Class A Delmarva, the Shorebirds announced Tuesday. Rutschman is expected to make his South Atlantic League debut Wednesday when Delmarva hosts Greensboro.
Rutschman leaves the IronBirds after hitting .325/.413/.481 with one homer, one triple and seven doubles over 20 games with the short-season club. He had been particularly hot lately, going 18-for-39 with eight extra-base hits over an active 10-game hitting streak. In his final Aberdeen game on Monday, he collected a career-high five hits, including a homer and a triple.
Before his stint in the New York-Penn League, Rutschman played five games with the Orioles' Gulf Coast League affiliate and homered in his first professional game.
Video: IronBirds' Rutschman's first NYPL homer
The 21-year-old catcher's quick ascent through the Baltimore system matches what is typically expected of college hitters of his caliber. The Orioles took Rutschman with the top overall pick in the 2019 Draft after he hit .411/.575/.751 with 17 homers as a junior at Oregon State. The club signed him for a record $8.1 million signing bonus -- beating out Gerrit Cole's $8 million in 2011 -- on the strength of that offensive prowess and his plus skills behind the plate, both with the glove and his arm.
2019 MiLB include
The O's have limited Rutschman's time behind the plate, coming off his long spring with the Beavers, but the Oregon native has had no issues on defense. In nine starts at catcher for Aberdeen, he threw out five of seven attempted basestealers. He even caught a combined no-hitter on Aug. 12.
Rutschman's arrival should be a boon for Delmarva's postseason chances. The Shorebirds already punched their ticket to the Sally League playoffs by winning the first-half Northern Division title and sit two games ahead of Hickory for the second-half crown as well. The South Atlantic League playoffs begin on Sept. 4, and Rutschman should feature at the heart of the Delmarva lineup when they do.