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Baby Bird Notes: Adley & Hall Rehab, Willems Moves Up

Adley Rutschman swings in the batter's box
Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports
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It was an action-packed news cycle to start the last week of April for the Orioles’ minor league affiliates. We discovered early this week that the Aberdeen Ironbirds would be receiving some rehabbing prospects that just happened to be Adley Rutschman and D.L. Hall. While their stay in Aberdeen won’t be long, it is exciting to see both on the field for the first time in 2022.

Grayson Rodriguez made his fourth start that needs to be broken down, and Tides moved around their rotation to mean that a particular pitcher could be in the majors very soon.

Add in a surprise promotion from the GCL to Delmarva, and you have a loaded news cycle these last couple of days. So that is why I am breaking it all down today. So, sit back and enjoy as I break down what is going on in the news cycle going into the new month.

Aberdeen gets Rehabbing Reinforcements

While it would seem near impossible to make the Ironbirds lineup more exciting, one way to do it would be to ad the sport’s #2 prospect. Rutschman is there now rehabbing the triceps injury that kept him out until this week. He batted second in the lineup and didn’t show any signs of being hurt. Instead, he showed the same plate discipline as always, working the count in all three of his at-bats on Tuesday and lacing baseballs all over the field.

In his first at-bat, Adley worked the count and slammed a line-drive to left that was right at the left fielder. In the second, he laced a double in the corner and then tagged up on a fly ball to third, resulting in a run scored when Coby Mayo beat out an infield hit. Rutschman worked the count in his third at-bat and battled to get a walk, showing his patience. He looked good defensively, stealing strikes for his pitcher and looking comfortable blocking and framing. He did make a throwing error, but the ball should have been caught by the infielder, who let the ball bounce off his glove and into the outfield. Adley is ready for the big leagues (huge surprise); he just needs playing time. It seems like taking the extra couple of weeks to get Adley fully healthy instead of sticking to the two-week timeline Mike Elias noted originally is paying off because he looks locked and loaded.

As for Hall, he will make his debut on Friday, April 29th, and aim to go up to four innings of work. When a player is rehabbing, it is wise to look for certain things that the player does regularly and see if they are still there. If said thing is there for the player, such as Adley looking disciplined and flexible behind the plate, all is good. It gets shaky when that skill isn’t there, and the player seems slow or out of action. Look for Hall’s velocity in this case. The fastball touched 98-100 last time he was seen in a relief stint in Spring Training against the Phillies. If Hall is in the 97 range and his fastball is moving, that is good.

Adley and Hall are adding some excitement to a team that honestly didn’t need it; if you would like to see these guys go out to Aberdeen on Friday to see them.

Norfolk Notes

Rodriguez had his first test on Tuesday, and it wasn’t about how well he pitched. Baseball is an unforgiving and unpredictable game, and circumstances got in the way of Gray Rod having a good start. It started immediately when the game was delayed by over an hour due to rain. Then the infield defense let him down in the first inning, and it was made worse by the scorekeeper for Gwinnett called the plays that should have been errors hits. So why even mention this? We need to note these circumstances need to be mentioned because he was still able to bounce back and have a solid start. This is what you want to see as an Orioles fan because it shows that he can bounce back from adversity and pitch through it. That is one of the things you need as an ace, and Gray Rod showed it.

Norfolk wasn’t out of the news cycle just yet as Kyle Bradish was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday. While we found out later that Bradish was moved to Friday for Norfolk, that makes this situation even more interesting. This is because his scheduled start on Friday lines up on the open rotation spot in the majors due to the Chris Ellis I.L. stint. So does this mean that Bradish is finally going to get the call-up? Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know. If Bradish had not been named the Friday starter for Norfolk, I would feel better saying yes, but I could see it going both ways. Bradish threw a lot more pitches than usual in his last start, so maybe that tells us that the Orioles think he is ready? I think he will get called up on the second round of the rotation if he doesn’t get this one, but saying that he will be in Baltimore pitching isn’t hard to figure out.

The surprise call-up was catching prospect Creed Willems. Willems is a young developmental catching prospect that is working on developing as a defensive catcher. If you would like to learn more about him, I recommend looking at Eric_Birdland’s Twitter account. He is the biggest fan of his that you will find, and he knows more about him than me.

The Orioles’ minor league news cycle continues to roll on, and it stops for no one going into May.

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