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Orioles sign Adley Rutschman to record-breaking bonus

The deal breaks the previous record set by Gerrit Cole

San Diego Padres v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles announced yesterday they have agreed to a deal with No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman, a catcher from Oregon State.

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis was among many to report, Rutschman agreed to a bonus worth $8.1 million. While that’s more than $300K below slot value, it still breaks the previous record for largest bonus, the $8 million pact signed by Gerrit Cole when he was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.

Rutschman made his first public appearance as an Oriole today, when he took a few rounds of batting practice with the big-league club. The final pitch ended up sailing beyond the right-field stands for a massive home run.

Rutschman was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in addition to receiving Co-Defensive Player of the Year Honors. He was also the Pac-12 batting champion.

Rutschman was an elite defensive catcher in college who boasts speed with his reaction time, footwork, and release time. Not only is he an amazing catcher, but he’s a fabulous hitter, too.

As MLB Daily Dish’s Eric Cole wrote when Rutschman was selected by the O’s, “Rutschman is the rare draft prospect that not only stands out at the plate, but also stands to be a plus defender at a premium position in catcher. Adley is a switch-hitter who has the ability to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate. Combine that with an advanced approach at the plate and he is an offensive force that would play at any position, let alone at one that isn’t exactly known for offensive standouts.”

Rutschman dominated at Oregon State this past season, slashing an impressive .427/.584/.772 in 52 games while and walking nearly twice as much as he struck out.

While it’s unclear for the moment where Rutschman will be assigned, his time in the minors isn’t expected to last too long. He’ll obviously spend the remainder of 2019 in the minor leagues and some — if not all — of the 2020 season in the higher levels of minor league ball, too, but could make his big league debut early in 2021.