Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman stole the hearts of America with his unique performance in the HR Derby.
25-year-old catcher Adley Rutschman has been integral to the Baltimore Orioles’ impressive 2023 season. The reigning Rookie of the Year runner-up has managed a WAR of 2.1 through 86 games, emerging as a major talent behind home plate and at the batter’s box.
His strong second season earned him a spot in the MLB Home Run Derby lineup. It’s safe to say he did not disappoint in the first round.
Rutschman crushed 21 home runs left-handed before embarking on a 30-second bonus stretch… when he switched to his right hand, and hit six more homers righty. There are plenty of switch-hitters, but how many switch sides in the middle of the HR Derby?
His swing is beautiful to watch, and he definitely won over the crowd — not to mention the folks watching at home.
Twitter reacts to Adley Rutschman’s amazing switch-hitting performance at Home Run Derby
Unfortunately… style points don’t win the Home Run Derby. Despite Rutschman emerging as the crowd favorite, he won’t be advancing after No. 1 seed Luis Robert Jr.’s monstrous performance at the plate.
Still, this will be a moment for Rutschman and the Orioles to remember. The franchise has a special offensive talent on its hands. One has to imagine he will have plenty of future opportunities for redemption on this stage. Try keeping him out of the HR Derby next season if he wants to participate; the entire city of Baltimore might riot.
On the season Rutschman is slashing .273/.376/.423 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs. He’s at the very beginning of his MLB stardom, already on pace to lap his rookie numbers. Baltimore is right in the mix for a postseason spot too, currently 54-35 and second place in the AL East.
So, as far as Rutschman is concerned, he has bigger fish to fry. If he can help guide the Orioles to a surprising deep playoff run, people will forget about his HR Derby tragedy and celebrate him even more for his contributions to winning.