Saturday, July 2 marks the six-week anniversary of Adley Rutschman’s major league debut at Camden Yards.
In that time, Rutschman has played in 32 games, with the team going 16-16 in those games while Adley has slashed .220/.287/.407.
Of course since Rutschman is a highly touted rookie catcher, the comparisons of Rutschman to Matt Wieters are not only inevitable – they actually began the moment he was drafted.
So let’s take a look at how Adley and the Orioles made out in their first six weeks compared to how Wieters and the 2009 O’s made out just after his debut.
Let’s start with Wieters.
Back in late May of 2009, Andy MacPhail announced – with great fanfare – on a MASN broadcast that the heralded young catcher would be promoted and play his first game on May 29.
This caused a nice rush at the box office, as 42,704 fans attended that night compared to an average crowd of just 11,927 in the team’s three previous home games.
Wieters hit seventh in the order that night – between Orioles legends Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold – and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Over his first 32 games, Wieters hit .248 (28-for-113) with 3 home runs and 10 RBI while scoring 10 runs.
During Wieters’ first 32 games, the Orioles went 13-19 (.406 winning percentage) whereas they posted a record of 22-26 (.458 winning percentage) in the 48 games played before Wieters arrived.
In the case of Rutschman, he has hit .220 (26-for-118) with 3 home runs and 9 RBI while scoring 15 runs in his first 32 games.
During Rutschman’s first 32 games, as mentioned earlier, the team has gone 16-16 whereas the posted a record of 16-25 (.390 winning percentage) in the 41 games played before Rutschman arrived.
That improvement in the team’s record – at least in the local print and online media – has been attributed to Rutschman to a large degree.
And it’s possible that his defensive skills – and his framing ability in particular – has contributed to that.
But what’s interesting to me is that offensively the first 32 games for Rutschman and Wieters are very similar…but in Wieters’ case his debut coincided with a slight dip in the team’s overall performance.
That’s probably more indicative of the lack of talent on the 2009 Orioles, just as the team’s improvement since Rutschman’s debut likely has more to do with their suddenly strong bullpen, improved offense and spectacular defense over the past several weeks.
There’s no doubt, however, that the comparisons between Rutschman and Wieters will continue. And 32 games is a ridiculously small sample size. So there are no great conclusions that can be drawn from this exercise.
And just for those who are curious, Wieters finished his rookie season hitting .288/.340/.412 with 9 home runs and 43 RBI. It will be interesting to see if Rutschman posts even better numbers — and if the team continues to play at a higher level now that he’s on board.