The Battle of the Top Catching Prospects in Baseball

With the Orioles set to face the Blue Jays, two of the game's top catching prospects will square off in Adley Rutschman and Gabriel Moreno.

Blue Jays
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 10, 2021: Gabriel Moreno #24 of the Mesa Solar Sox bats against the Glendale Desert Dogs at Camelback Ranch on November 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

This past weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays made an internal move by promoting top prospect Gabriel Moreno to the big league squad. With Danny Jansen on the IL, there was an opportunity for the club to bring up Just Baseball’s No. 9 prospect and they jumped at the chance to see what the 22-year-old can do.

He suited up in two games against Detroit, going 1-for-7 with one walk and one strikeout, while throwing out the only attempted base stealer he had through the series. He also caught Kevin Gausman on Saturday and Ross Stripling on Sunday.

It was a big moment for Moreno and the fans, as there has not been as big a prospect promotion from within the Jays fanbase since Nate Pearson back in 2020 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in 2019. There was tons of hype regarding Moreno and his ability in the batter’s box and his rocket of arm behind home. He worked hard on his play behind the plate and ability to call a game and now finds himself on the active roster.

Starting tonight, the Baltimore Orioles will be rolling into Toronto for the first series of the year between the two squads. With Moreno now on the Jays roster, there appears to be a battle coming between the two top-catching prospects in MLB when these teams square off later tonight.

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Gabriel Moreno faces off against Adley Rutschman

Across the diamond will be Adley Rutschman, the first overall pick of the Orioles back in 2019. He was Just Baseball No. 3 overall prospect heading into the season and was called up to the show on May 21st. So far this year, Rutschman has authored a .179/.257/.269 slash line with two doubles, one triple, and 18 strikeouts. The right-handed batter has yet to hit a home run or add an RBI and has amassed a .526 OPS through 18 games and 67 at-bats.

This is not the start Orioles fans were hoping for their top prospect, but the transition to the big leagues is not an easy process. The Jays have experienced the same issues with Pearson a couple of years ago, where a top prospect struggled to perform right away and doesn’t really find a rhythm. Even Guerrero Jr. didn’t have the earth-shattering rookie year many were hoping for, but turned it around last season and turned in an MVP-caliber season.

When will the Blue Jays debut Moreno at the Rogers Centre?

With the Orioles coming in for a four-game series against the Blue Jays, these two are set to square off in what is sure to be a ritual over the next seven seasons between the two AL East rivals.

It will be interesting to see how much Moreno will actually suit up this week considering the Jays’ other catcher, Alejandro Kirk, is playing well right now, as well as Moreno having caught the past two days and likely deserving a rest day. Considering this past weekend series was on the road, this will also be his debut in Toronto, giving him his first chance to show off in front of the home crowd.

The first pitch is set for 7:07 pm EST with the Jays sending Alek Manoah to the mound to face Kyle Bradish. Considering Kirk catches Manoah on a regular basis, the fans may have to wait until Tuesday to see their top prospect at the Rogers Centre. Unless of course they insert him in the lineup as the DH.

Regardless, this weekend will give us a chance to take a look into the future of the catching position, as Rutschman and Moreno are set to share a big league field for the first of what we hope is many times.

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