NEW YORK – Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles said Monday he will participate in the Home Run Derby on July 10 in Seattle as he attempts to become the first catcher to win the event.
The Orioles posted a Twitter video with highlights of Rutschman’s home runs that read: “Get Your Popcorn Ready”.
Rutschman joins a field that includes New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, Dodgers’ star Mookie Betts, Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez.
In his second season with Baltimore, the Oregon native will try to win the title in his native Pacific Northwest and join Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (1991) and Miguel Tejada (2004) as the third Oriole to win the event.
“It’s the best,” Rutschman said of participating in Seattle. “Besides Baltimore, Seattle’s the place that I grew up going to, first stadium I ever went to. So it means a lot. I know a lot of people out there, so basically home.”
The most recent catcher to participate was Kansas City’s Salvador Pérez, who hit 28 homers in 2021 and lost in the first round to Alonso.
Rutschman is the 10th catcher to participate since the event began in 1985 and said his father, Randy, will throw to him. The elder Rutschman is a former college catcher and former coach at Division III George Fox University.
“I'm really excited. I got my dad throwing BP,” Rutschman said. “It’s one of the things I think you dream about as a kid. To be able to do it with my dad, it’s awesome.”
Rutschman is the first switch-hitting catcher to participate since Mickey Tettleton in 1989 for Baltimore. He said he would likely start from the left side of the plate where he has 20 of his 24 homers.
One of four Baltimore representatives in the All-Star Game, Rutschman will be the second Oriole in the past three seasons to participate. In 2021, Trey Mancini lost by one home run in the finals to Alonso, who announced Sunday night he was participating.
“It’s so cool that he’s going to have that experience,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s always fun watching somebody you know really well.”
Drafted first overall in 2019 out of Oregon State by Baltimore, Rutschman is hitting .268 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 79 games heading into a four-game series against the Yankees. He made his major league debut May 21, 2022, and hit .254 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs to help the Orioles win 83 wins for their first winning season since 2016.