Oregon State’s Remarkable Adley Rutschman

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Imagine being the 1,197th pick in the MLB Draft out of high school and three years later the odds on favorite to be the No. 1 pick overall.

Oregon State’s 6-foot-2, 216-pound catcher Adley Rutschman is that man.

He was only 19 picks away from being the last pick of the draft in the 40th round three years ago by the Seattle Mariners from Sherwood High School (Sherwood, Ore.)

Since that time, he has improved dramatically in every phase of his game at Oregon State. 

His greatest strides have been made as a switch hitter.

As a freshman two seasons ago, he hit an anemic .234 in 61 games with 7 doubles, 2 homers, 33 RBI and 27 walks over 209 at-bats.

Last year was remarkable as he hit 174 points higher with a.408 batting average.

He had 15 more doubles (22), 7 more homers (9) and collected 26 more walks (53) as he turned into a skilled hitter from both sides of the plate.

It was one of the greatest turnarounds by a hitter in college baseball history.

At the College World Series last year, he was on fire.

Over eight games against elite pitching staffs, he hit .567 as he collected a College World Series record 17 hits in 30 at-bats and recorded 13 RBI, 3 doubles, 2 homers and 7 walks.

He tallied three hits and two RBI in the national title game win over Arkansas as Rutschman was named Most Valuable Player of the 2018 CWS.

Last season he delivered clutch hits over and over again.

One he will never forget was a walkoff inside-the-park home run in the 10th inning against Nevada as he went 4-for-4 with two walks.

Oregon State Head Coach Pat Bailey, one of the top hitting minds in the game, said subtle changes were made with Rutschman after his freshman season.

“Adley was a disciplined hitter when he came in our program and worked hard. But I feel there were two keys to his success last season.

“First, he didn’t play football for Oregon State after his freshman season. So we had him the entire fall of 2017 which allowed us to clean some things up.”

Rutschman was the placekicker for the football team his freshman year as he served as a kickoff specialist, averaging 59.5 yards per kick with 20 touchbacks.

At Sherwood High School (Sherwood, Ore.), he booted a state-record 63-yard field goal as a senior in 2015.

“Second, he was consistently collapsing his back side which was causing him to come off the ball earlier on the front side. That was the No. 1 thing we cleaned up. We did different drills with him to refine that area.

“Being a hard worker allowed Adley to improve quickly. As a switch hitter, he had issues from both sides. But he collapsed more from the left side. We just tried to get him to stay tall on his back side and keep a proper distance between his feet.

“He needed to be more balanced. Posture determines a hitter’s swing path. All the things we did to help Adley had to do with timing, rhythm and balance. And balance is the key to Adley.”

Bailey said Rutschman’s leadership skills are off the chart.

“He is a selfless, great young man. I have known Adley since he was five years old going back to the days when I coached at George Fox University with Adley’s dad Randy.

“When you work with baseball players, some are more risk takers than others, and Adley certainly fits that mold. Part of that is personality and part is self confidence. Adley has always been willing to make changes so he can improve.” 

To read more of this article, purchase the Feb. 22, 2019 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the article delves into Adley Rutschman’s remarkable receiving ability and how he has shut down opponent running games. Pitching Coach Nate Yeskie explains why he is so special with his unique way of working with pitching staffs and why he is an iron man who rarely misses a game.