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Orioles catchers give their impressions of Adley Rutschman’s first camp: ‘You could tell he wants to get better’

Inviting top prospect and former No. 1 draft pick Adley Rutschman to the Orioles’ major league camp was always meant to be a learning experience for the 22-year-old catching prodigy.

It also served as an opportunity for the Orioles’ coaches and catchers to learn about him as well, and ahead of Rutschman being sent out to prepare for the minor league season at that camp across town, the impression he left on his teammates in camp was strong.

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Rutschman was one of seven catchers in camp, with their days consisting of early drill work and hitting so they could be around to catch pitchers during bullpen sessions and simulated games and still work with the rest of the position players.

The Grapefruit League schedule was so jumbled that several catchers, including Chance Sisco and Pedro Severino, said they never got to see him in game action. But each of the six catchers who worked alongside Rutschman saw enough to be able to break down what they saw in him, and what will be important in his first full professional season, which could begin next month at High-A Frederick.

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Here’s what they said:

What was your impression of Rutschman in his first major league camp?

Chance Sisco: “Just that he cares. You could tell he wants to get better. Obviously, he’s definitely taking everything in that he can. I don’t know what he’s thinking. But it definitely looks from the outside like he wants to get better, and he’s trying to learn from anyone that’s around him.”

Pedro Severino: “I’ve seen a lot of good stuff. He’s a really good player, really young guy. Smart guy, and we’ve been working together and he can be the future catcher of the team for a long time. For him, it’s just trying to fit in and working on the little stuff. He’s going to be ready really soon.”

Austin Wynns: “What stands out? Him being himself. Bottom line. Him being himself, and not being timid. He is showing that he’s not scared, you know what I mean? He’s coachable. He listens, and obviously, he’s going to be someone that is very needed.”

Bryan Holaday: “I’ve been very impressed, and not just like because of the on-the-field ability and all that, but the way he handles himself is awesome to see. To see someone, for lack of a better word, someone of that status, to be humble and to just be a genuinely good person, it’s great to see. The way he carries himself, the way he works, it’s awesome. I feel like that’s a tribute to this organization for seeking out not only that talent, but the characteristics that you look for in the makeup.”

Taylor Davis: “Really impressive as a kid, as a baseball player. The kid is 22 years old. He’s special. The talent is special at the plate, behind the plate, both sides of the plate. He can really hit. He can really catch. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to kind of sit back and try to help him because it’s a kid that I think is going to be really good for a really long time, and so far, it’s definitely somebody you want to root for. That’s always really fun, when a good guy is also a really good player. I think that’s what you’re seeing. Everybody knows how talented he is. He was 1-1. I think that he’s got the potential to do it for a really long time, because he’s got a really good building block and he’s got a good mind. That’s a really big part of this process.”

Martin Cervenka: “He’s a great guy. I love him. He’s a really good guy—a little bit goofy—but he’s fun to be around, and obviously, just taking BPs with him, especially just watching him hit is impressive when he sprays the ball around in BPs and stuff. I can’t wait for him to start the season and get him everyday Abs and see what he can do. Defensively, he’s solid as well. There’s a reason he was the first overall pick. He’s a really good player, really nice guy as well. He’s a fun guy to be around.”

What can he take from major league camp into the minor league season to be able to compete for a major league job come next spring?

Chance Sisco: “Just continue whatever him and [major league field coordinator/catching instructor Tim] Cossins have worked on together. Don’t really deviate from that, because during the season, you hit times and rough patches where you think about mixing some things up.”

Pedro Severino: “I haven’t seen him play in a game yet, so I can’t tell you about that. But everything we do, catching stuff, in BP, all this stuff, he looks really good. He’s got a lot of power. He makes good contact. Defensively, he’s an athletic guy. He can be ready in one year if he keeps going like that.”

Austin Wynns: “It’s a long season. Make sure you stick to your routine and listen to your body and outwork everyone. Outwork your opponent. Outwork everyone. You make your luck. I’m a firm believer of that. You make your luck.

Bryan Holaday: “I think it’s all about developing a routine and developing that work-ethic that you need to carry you through the season. You’re going to have your ups and downs. You’re going to need something to fall back on, kind of like a baseline. I feel like it starts here. It starts in spring training. You develop your good habits and you develop your routine and you know, I have to work on this, because this gets me right. It’s kind of a stepping stone to get to the end of the season. It gives you a base to fall back on: ‘I remember in spring, we were doing these drills. This is what I was working on. This is what made me feel good.’ It gives you that and you just build on it.”

Martin Cervenka: “Just to know what to expect being around the guys here, and seeing how they practice everyday, how they prepare themselves in the weight room and all that stuff. You just kind of get a feel for it, and hopefully, he can take it into the season and work hard all season long and see where he ends up.”

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