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What are the Orioles getting in Adley Rutschsman? Recent top MLB prospects offer a clue.

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What are the Orioles getting in Adley Rutschsman? Recent top MLB prospects offer a clue.

A little less than three years after being selected No. 1 overall by the Orioles in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, catcher Adley Rutschman is heading to the big leagues.

Rutschman will make his highly anticipated major league debut Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards, giving the Orioles the young star they’ve been waiting for ever since executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias promised an “elite talent pipeline” at the beginning of 2019.

While nothing is guaranteed, Rutschman’s status as the top prospect in baseball means the Orioles are getting a potential franchise-changing player. Here’s a look back at some other recent top prospects, their journeys to the big leagues and how they’ve fared:

Kansas City Royals third baseman-shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

Draft/international status: No. 2 overall pick in 2019 MLB draft

MLB debut: April 7, 2022, age 21

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball Prospectus

Taken one spot after Rutschman in the 2019 draft, Witt beat the Orioles catcher to the majors by more than a month.

A highly touted prospect out of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas, the son of the former 16-year major league veteran rose quickly through the minors, recording 35 home runs and 29 steals across three levels in his first full professional season in 2021. In 61 games at Triple-A, he batted .295/.369/.570 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs before earning a spot on the Royals’ opening day roster for the 2022 season.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco

Draft/international status: Signed as amateur free agent in 2017 out of Dominican Republic

MLB debut: June 22, 2021, age 20

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America

After dominating at Low-A and High-A in 2019, Franco and the rest of baseball’s top prospects lost a valuable season of development in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He made the jump to Triple-A in 2021 anyway and thrived, batting .313/.372/.583 in 40 games before receiving a late-season call-up to the playoff-bound Rays.

After recording a .288/.347/.463 slash line with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 70 games with Tampa Bay, he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting behind teammate Randy Arozarena and Houston Astros right-hander Luis Garcia.

In November, Franco signed a $182 million, 11-year contract that includes a club option for the 2033 season.

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman-designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Draft/international status: Signed as amateur free agent in 2015 out of Montreal, Canada

MLB debut: April 26, 2019, age 20

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America

Thanks to a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Blue Jays secured enough bonus pool money to sign the teenage son of the Hall of Famer to a deal that included a $3.9 million signing bonus.

Buoyed by his father’s success and his own prestigious power, Guerrero was one of the most anticipated prospects in years, and he more than lived up to the billing in the pros. After batting .331/.414/.531 in 239 minor league games, he became an immediate star in the majors, slashing .272/.339/.433 with 15 homers and 39 RBIs in his rookie season.

In 2021, he led the majors with 48 home runs to finish second in AL Most Valuable Player voting behind Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher-designated hitter Shohei Ohtani

Draft/international status: Signed with the Angels in 2017 out of Japan

MLB debut: March 19, 2018, age 23

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs

Ohtani’s time as a prospect was brief, but his talent was undeniable.

Choosing to begin his pro career in his native Japan, he became a five-time All-Star in Nippon Professional Baseball, excelling as both a right-handed pitcher and a left-handed slugger. After being posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters at the end of the 2017 season, he was courted by the best teams in MLB before signing with the Angels.

Although he could have earned a megadeal had he waited two years for unrestricted free agency, he was subject to international signing rules, which capped his potential signing bonus at $3.557 million.

It didn’t take long for Ohtani to become one of the biggest stars in baseball, as he batted .285/.361/.564 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs while posting a 3.31 ERA with 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 2018 to earn AL Rookie of the Year honors. Three years later, he put together one of the best seasons in baseball history, slashing .257/.372/.592 with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs while going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA to be named AL MVP.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr.

Draft/international status: Signed as amateur free agent in 2014 out of Venezuela

MLB debut: April 25, 2018, age 20

Ranked No. 1 by: Baseball America

Signed as a teenager out of Venezuela, Acuña quickly established himself as a top prospect, climbing to Triple-A in his third minor league season. In 83 games at that level, he hit .309/.375/.464 with 10 home runs, 37 RBIs and 19 steals. Even though Acuña hit .432 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 16 spring training games in 2018, the Braves waited until after April 14 to call up their top prospect to retain a full season of service time.

It wasn’t long before Acuña became one of the best players in all of baseball, winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and making the All-Star Game two of the next three seasons. He missed the Braves’ run to a World Series title last season after tearing his ACL in July, but he still earned an All-Star nod with a torrid first half that included a .283/.394/.596 slash line with 24 homers and 52 RBIs.

In April 2019, he signed an eight-year, $100 million deal with the Braves.

Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi

Draft/international status: No. 7 overall pick in 2015 MLB draft

Debut date: Aug. 2, 2016, age 22

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

After making a strong first impression at the end of the 2016 season, in which he hit .295/.359/.476 in 34 games with the Red Sox, Benintendi rose to the top of prospect rankings. He didn’t disappoint in his first full major league season, batting .271/.352/.424 with 20 home runs and 90 RBIs to finish second in AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Yankees star Aaron Judge. The next season, he played a key role in helping Boston win its second World Series title in five years.

But after struggling in 2019 and playing just 14 games in the shortened 2020 season because of injury, the Red Sox traded Benintendi to the Royals in a three-team deal with the Mets that landed Boston five players. He rebounded after the trade, posting a 2.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and winning Gold Glove honors in left field in 2021.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager

Draft/international status: No. 18 overall pick in 2012 MLB draft

Debut date: Sept. 3, 2015, age 21

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

Drafted out of Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord, North Carolina, Seager became an immediate star in the minors before earning his major league promotion at the end of the 2015 season. He left no doubt he was ready in his first 27 games with the Dodgers, batting .337/.425/.561 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

In his first full major league campaign, Seager delivered, slashing .308/.365/.512 with 26 home runs and 72 RBIs to earn NL Rookie of the Year honors and finish third in NL MVP voting. He then became the star of the 2020 Dodgers’ run to their first championship since 1988, winning MVP honors in both the NLCS and World Series.

When he reached free agency at the end of the 2021 season as a two-time All-Star, he secured a franchise-record 10-year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

Chicago Cubs third baseman-left fielder Kris Bryant

Draft/international status: No. 2 overall pick in 2013 MLB draft

MLB debut: April 17, 2015, age 23

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

Like many top prospects before and after him, Bryant was kept in the minors for the first two weeks of the 2015 season so the Cubs could gain another year of club control with the budding star. When he finally did debut, he proved he was more than ready, batting .275/.369/.488 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs to be named an All-Star and NL Rookie of the Year.

He followed that up with a truly dominant season, posting a slash line of .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs to win NL MVP honors and help the Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908, breaking one of the longest championship droughts in sports history. He even recorded the final out on a grounder to third, flashing a smile during the play.

He remained one of the league’s best hitters over the next four seasons, but he and the Cubs couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term extension. With his contract set to expire at the end of 2021, Chicago sent Bryant to the San Francisco Giants at the midseason trade deadline in exchange for two minor leaguers. After the Giants lost in the NLDS to the Dodgers, Bryant signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with the Colorado Rockies to be their starting left fielder.

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton

Draft/international status: No. 2 overall pick in 2012 MLB draft

MLB debut: June 14, 2015, age 21

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

It took awhile for Buxton to deliver on his immense promise, but it wasn’t for a lack of talent. His status as a five-tool player coming out of Appling County High School in Georgia captivated scouts, and he remained near the top of most prospect lists before making his debut in 2015.

After a modest start to his big league career, he broke out in 2017, batting .253/.314/.413 with 16 home runs, 51 RBIs and 29 stolen bases while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field.

Injuries kept him off the field for most of the next three years, but Buxton showed enough when he was healthy to earn a seven-year, $100 million extension with the Twins ahead of the 2021 season. He opened 2022 on fire to put himself in the early MVP discussion, but has since cooled off.

Texas Rangers infielder-outfielder Jurickson Profar

Draft/international status: Signed as amateur free agent in 2009 out of Curacao

MLB debut: Sept. 2, 2012, age 19

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

Profar is the most disappointing of these recent top prospects, perhaps serving as a cautionary tale of promoting a player too early. Profar was just 19 when he played his first major league game in 2012, and he struggled the following season to live up to the hype. He then spent two years in the minors, only to return to the big leagues and struggle again.

It wasn’t until he received regular playing time at second base in 2018 that his talent started to show, as he hit .254/.335/.458 with 20 home runs and 77 RBIs while posting a 1.7 WAR. The Rangers then traded him to the Athletics as part of a three-team deal with the Rays, and he spent just one season in Oakland before being dealt once again to the Padres.

He put together a strong 2020 season to earn a three-year, $21 million contract from the Padres and has since established himself as an everyday outfielder.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper

Draft/international status: No. 1 overall pick in 2010 MLB draft

MLB debut: April 28, 2012, age 19

Ranked No. 1 by: Baseball America

Perhaps no prospect over the past decade has received more hype than Harper, an electric talent from Las Vegas who graduated early from high school to attend Southern Nevada. There, he hit .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs in just 66 games to earn the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, given to the best amateur baseball player in the country.

Harper quickly rose through the minors, reaching Double-A by the end of his first professional season. After 21 games at Triple-A, he was called up to the majors and became an instant star, batting .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs to earn NL Rookie of the Year honors and his first All-Star Game appearance.

An All-Star in six of his seven seasons in Washington and the 2015 NL MVP, Harper became a free agent in 2018 and signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, the largest in MLB history at the time. While the Nationals went on to win the World Series in 2019, postseason success has eluded Harper, who has yet to reach the playoffs in Philadelphia.

He remains one of the biggest stars in the sport, winning MVP honors for the second time in 2021.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward

Draft/international status: No. 14 overall pick in 2007 MLB draft

MLB debut: April 5, 2010, age 20

Ranked No. 1 by: MLB Pipeline, Baseball America

It doesn’t get more memorable than Heyward’s debut. In his first major league at-bat, he turned on a 3-0 fastball from Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano and sent it 433 feet into the right field seats at a sold-out Turner Field. He finished that season slashing .277/.393/.456 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs, earning his first and only All-Star nod while finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Giants catcher Buster Posey.

Heyward was an above-average hitter and one of the league’s best defenders during his time in Atlanta, but he never became the superstar many expected him to be after that memorable first at-bat. He was traded to the Cardinals after the 2014 season and put up big numbers in St. Louis before reaching free agency and signing an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs, playing Gold Glove-caliber defense to help the team end its 108-year title drought.

But after posting a 6.9 WAR season in his lone year in St. Louis, he’s never produced above a 2.4 WAR in Chicago, slipping to sub-replacement level in 2022.

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Wisconsin’s Tony Evers looks for boost from anger over abortion

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Wisconsin’s Tony Evers looks for boost from anger over abortion

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers hopes to translate anger over the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade into votes this fall as he vows to fight a 173-year-old state abortion ban, including offering clemency to any doctor convicted and not appointing prosecutors who would enforce the prohibition.

Evers, who won election in the battleground state four years ago by just over 1 percentage point, told The Associated Press ahead of his appearance Saturday at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention that abortion will energize key independent voters to support him and other Democrats.

“Any time you take half the people in Wisconsin and make them second class citizens, I have to believe there’s going to be a reaction to that,” Evers said.

At a rally Saturday before the convention, Evers said: “I have seven granddaughters who are girls or young women. Yesterday they were made second-class citizens, and that’s (expletive).”

Wisconsin’s governor’s race is expected to be one of the hardest fought in the country this year. It’s a priority for Democrats given the importance of swing state Wisconsin in the 2024 presidential election. Evers is also the only thing standing in the way of the Republican-controlled Legislature. In his first term, he issued more vetoes than any other governor in modern history.

Democrats running to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson will also speak Sunday at the convention in La Crosse. Five Republicans are running for a chance to take on Evers. Wisconsin’s primary is Aug. 9.

About 1,000 people attended the convention that kicked off Saturday night.

Evers told the AP that he feels confident abortion will be a winning issue for his party because polls have consistently shown about 60% of Wisconsin residents support it being legal in most or all cases.

“You can’t ignore the fact that we now have politicians making decisions for women and their health care,” Evers said. “So we’ll be talking about that a lot.”

Evers vowed to do whatever he can to evade the state’s abortion ban that was passed in 1849 but hasn’t been in effect since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. That includes supporting lawsuits to overturn it, not appointing district attorneys who would enforce it and offering clemency for doctors convicted under it.

“We’re looking at everything,” he said.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow said Evers’ position on abortion was appealing only to “his activist base and going against the will of the people.” He downplayed the significance of the court’s ruling on the election.

“All they really did yesterday was, 50 years ago an activist bench made a decision that wasn’t constitutional and put that into play, so they’re correcting that,” Farrow said. “Is it causing any change to the political landscape? There is a standard that people have. Republicans know that we’re pro-life.”

In addition to abortion, Evers said his reelection campaign and message to Democrats will focus on successes from his first term, including using federal money to fix roads and support small businesses. Evers said he will also emphasize what’s at stake if Republicans win, “including voter suppression and voting rights.”

Evers is a supporter of Wisconsin’s bipartisan commission that oversees elections, but all of his Republican opponents want to do away with it. Evers also vetoed a series of bills that would make it more difficult to vote absentee in the state.

President Joe Biden carried Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes, an outcome that some Republicans have refused to accept even though it has withstood two recounts, multiple lawsuits, an independent audit and even a review by a conservative group.

Republicans hope to harness unhappiness about gas prices, inflation and crime to knock off Evers.

No governor who was the same party as the sitting president has won election in Wisconsin since 1990. A Marquette University Law School poll this week showed Evers slightly ahead of his Republican challengers, while Johnson was about even with each Democrat running against him.

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Saints’ seven runs enough to put away Buffalo

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Saints’ seven runs enough to put away Buffalo

Eliot Soto went 4 for 5 with three RBIs, and Aaron Sanchez worked in and out of trouble for five innings as the Saints beat the Buffalo Blue Jays, 7-4, on Saturday at Sahlen Field.

Soto’s two-run single in the fourth inning gave St. Paul a 2-0 lead. He scored on Spencer Steer’s one-out single for a 5-3 lead, and his two-out single gave the Saints a 7-3 lead in the ninth.

The Saints have led every game in this six-game series in the eighth inning or later yet take a 2-3 record into Sunday’s series finale, a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.

Michael Helman went 3 for 5 with a pair of solo home runs, and John Andreoli added a solo homer as the Saints beat the first-place team in the International League East Division.

Sanchez (2-0) allowed five hits and five walks in five innings but limited the Blue Jays to three runs. He struck out three. JC Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning, walking two, for his second hold.

Juan Minaya pitched the ninth, giving up a leadoff homer to Samad Taylor, and putting two more on base before retiring Chavez Young on a liner to center to close out the Saints’ second win of the series.

Thomas Hatch (4-4) took the loss, charged with four earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five.

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Russia fires missiles across Ukraine, cements gains in east

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Russia fires missiles across Ukraine, cements gains in east

By DAVID KEYTON and JOHN LEICESTER

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces were seeking to swallow up the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region, pressing their momentum after taking full control Saturday of the charred ruins of Sievierodonetsk and the chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had been holed up.

Russia also launched dozens of missiles on several areas across the country far from the heart of the eastern battles. Some of the missiles were fired from Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers deployed from Belarus for the first time, Ukraine’s air command said.

The bombardment preceded a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during which Putin announced that Russia planned to supply Belarus with the Iskander-M missile system.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that Russian and Moscow-backed separatist forces now control Sievierodonetsk and the villages surrounding it. He said the attempt by Ukrainian forces to turn the Azot plant into a “stubborn center of resistance” had been thwarted.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk province, said Friday that Ukrainian troops were retreating from Sievierodonetsk after weeks of bombardment and house-to-house fighting. He confirmed Saturday that the city had fallen to Russian and separatist fighters, who he said were now trying to blockade Lysychansk from the south. The city lies across the river just to the west of Sievierodonetsk.

Capturing Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major settlement in the province, a significant step toward Russia’s aim of capturing the entire Donbas. The Russians and separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province in the Donbas.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for the separatist forces, Andrei Marochko, as saying Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered Lysychansk and that fighting was taking place in the heart of the city. There was no immediate comment on the claim from the Ukrainian side.

Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk have been the focal point of a Russian offensive aimed at capturing all of the Donbas and destroying the Ukrainian military defending it — the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the country’s armed forces.

Russian bombardment has reduced most of Sievierodonetsk to rubble and cut its population from 100,000 to 10,000. The last remaining Ukrainian troops were holed up in underground shelters in the huge Azot chemical plant, along with hundreds of civilians. A separatist representative, Ivan Filiponenko, said earlier Saturday that its forces evacuated 800 civilians from the plant during the night, Interfax reported.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleg Zhdanov said some of the troops were heading for Lysychansk. But Russian moves to cut off Lysychansk will give those retreating troops little respite.

Some 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) to the west, four Russian cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea hit a “military object” in Yaroviv, Lviv regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said. He did not give further details of the target, but Yaroviv has a sizable military base used for training fighters, including foreigners who have volunteered to fight for Ukraine.

Russian missiles struck the Yaroviv base in March, killing 35 people. The Lviv region, although far from the front lines, has come under fire at various points in the the war as Russia’s military worked to destroy fuel storage sites.

About 30 Russian missiles were fired on the Zhytomyr region in central Ukraine on Saturday morning, killing one Ukrainian soldier, regional governor Vitaliy Buchenko said. He said all of the strikes were aimed at military targets.

In the northwest, two missiles hit a service station and auto repair center in Sarny, killing three people and wounding four, the Rivne regional governor, Vitaliy Koval, said. He posted a picture of the destruction. Sarny is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the border with Belarus.

In southern Ukraine along the Black Sea coast, nine missiles fired from Crimea hit the port city of Mykolaiv, the Ukrainian military said.

In the north, about 20 missiles were fired from Belarus into the Chernihiv region, the Ukrainian military said.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said the Russian bombers’ use of Belarusian airspace for the first time for Saturday’s attack was “directly connected to attempts by the Kremlin to drag Belarus into the war.”

Belarus hosts Russian military units and was used as a staging ground before Russia invaded Ukraine, but its own troops have not crossed the border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that as a war that Moscow expected to last five days moved into its fifth month, Russia “felt compelled to stage such a missile show.”

He said the war was at a difficult stage, “when we know that the enemy will not succeed, when we understand that we can defend our country, but we don’t know how long it will take, how many more attacks, losses and efforts there will be before we can see that victory is already on our horizon.”

During his meeting in St. Petersburg with Lukashenko, Putin told him the Iskander-M missile systems would be arriving in the coming months. He noted that they can fire either ballistic or cruise missiles and carry nuclear as well as conventional warheads. Russia has launched several Iskander missiles into Ukraine during the war.

Following a botched attempt to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the early stage of the invasion that started Feb. 24, Russian forces have shifted their focus to the Donbas, where the Ukrainian forces have fought Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking in Washington on condition of anonymity, on Friday called the Ukrainians’ withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk a “tactical retrograde” to consolidate forces into positions where they can better defend themselves. The move will reinforce Ukraine’s efforts to keep Russian forces pinned down in a small area, the official said.

After repeated Ukrainian requests to its Western allies for heavier weaponry to counter Russia’s edge in firepower, four medium-range American rocket launchers arrived this week, with four more on the way.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry released a video Saturday showing the first use of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, in Ukraine. The video gave no location or indication of the targets. The rockets can travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers).

The senior U.S. defense official said Friday that more Ukrainian forces are training outside Ukraine to use the HIMARS and are expected back in their country with the weapons by mid-July. Also to be sent are 18 U.S. coastal and river patrol boats.

The official said there is no evidence Russia has intercepted any of the steady flow of weapons into Ukraine from the U.S. and other nations. Russia has repeatedly threatened to strike, or actually claimed to have hit, such shipments.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at

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