SEATTLE — Each time Adley Rutschman walks onto the field at T-Mobile Park, his mind rushes toward that night one year ago, when he and his dad lived out a dream.

It was at this stadium where Rutschman, a Pacific Northwest native, enthralled the crowd with a 27-homer first-round performance in the Home Run Derby. He hit from both sides, displaying the switch-hitting power that has helped elevate him into one of the best catchers in the game. And then he hugged his dad, Randy, relief and exhilaration all mixed in one.

“To me, that was a lifetime goal for me and my dad to do,” Rutschman said. “That’s going to be a top memory forever. You know how special it is in the moment, and it still holds true. It’s probably even going to be more so as the years go on.”

Last year’s Home Run Derby surpassed any backyard imaginations from Rutschman — and there were many days he spent imagining.

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Adley Rutschman, #35 of the Baltimore Orioles, bats during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park on July 10, 2023. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

A year later, back at T-Mobile Park with his family in the stands, Rutschman feels a similar excitement for his teammate, Gunnar Henderson, who is preparing for his first Home Run Derby at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Henderson has the pedigree for the event — his 26 homers are tied for the second most in the majors — and he will soon be in the spotlight, taking hack after hack in a showcase of power.

For all the concerns around the Home Run Derby — the possibility of fatigue, of detrimental swing changes, of injury — the moment is one of a kind. For a pair of young MLB stars, the Home Run Derby is and will be a fond memory for a lifetime.

“I want him to be as fresh as possible,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’d love for him to try to relax as much as he can in those four days — I know it’s almost impossible when you go to the game to get a ton of rest, especially if you’re in the Derby and playing in the game. But how can you turn down that opportunity? And he deserves it and represents us so well, so we’re excited for him.”

Henderson said he plans to pick Rutschman’s brain about how to approach the Derby, and the process was already underway in the clubhouse on Tuesday. As Henderson explained the new rules to Rutschman, the catcher had a one-word response: “Perfect.”

The league did away with the head-to-head challenge in the first round, instead opting to give every batter 40 swings in a three-minute period, and the top four of eight hitters advance. Rutschman hit 27 homers in the first round but didn’t advance because the Chicago White Sox’s Luis Robert Jr. hit 28 in their matchup.

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But had the new rules been in effect, Rutschman would’ve advanced. His 27 first-round homers were more than five other players hit that round.

Rutschman also likes the limitation on the number of swings. According to ESPN, all of the participants averaged more than 43 swings per round in last year’s Derby. Some batters had the tendency to swing at a breakneck speed, again and again, trying to fit as many hacks into their round as possible.

In their early discussions, Rutschman has offered Henderson a tactic.

“I’d say that he’s got a good feel,” Rutschman said. “It probably takes a second to get into a rhythm, and once you get into a rhythm, once you start to get tired, call it. Maybe that’s at the 25-swing mark, and you save the last 15 for whatever you learned in the first 25. I think for him, he’s got plenty of power. It’s just going to be, for him, about finding that sweet spot of launch angle, because he’s got plenty of juice.”

All Henderson hopes for is to be competitive.

But once he finishes, no matter the outcome, Henderson may look back on his Home Run Derby experience with as much appreciation as Rutschman does.