Baltimore Orioles: Thoughts On The Morning Of The 2019 MLB Draft
The Baltimore Orioles will add a potentially franchise-changing player to their organization tonight. We know who it might be, but what if it isn’t? I think the Orioles will be ok.
After months of waiting and speculation, the time is here. At 7 pm tonight, on MLB Network, the Baltimore Orioles will make their first selection of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. This isn’t just any pick, it’s the first overall pick and the first pick of the Mike Elias era.
The Orioles will make three picks tonight (#1, #42, #71) as the first two rounds, including compensation and competitive balance picks, are completed. Rounds 3-10 will begin on Tuesday at 1 pm on MLB.com and rounds 11-40 will take place on Wednesday, beginning at noon.
It’s been assumed that Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman will not just be the pick, but THE pick. Per every single report written on Rutschman, the switch-hitting catcher brings tremendous power, unbelievable patience, elite defense, and seemingly every other tool imaginable.
MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis recently put out a piece discussing the magnitude of Rutschman’s abilities as a major league baseball player. In the article, Callis talked to veteran scouts in the industry who believe Rutschman is the top catching prospect in the history of the Major League Baseball draft. Not only that, these scouts ranked the catcher seventh among the best number one overall picks; including Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez, Stephen Strasburg, Ken Griffey Jr., and others.
The praise is endless. You have read it all and I’m not sure what else there is to make O’s fans feel more confident in this selection. The one thing that stuck out to me, was when Baseball America compared his defense to Austin Hedges. A far, very far, cry from comps used to describe the defense of catchers currently in the system. After spending an entire season watching Austin Hedges on a nightly basis, I don’t need much more convincing if you tell me Rutschman’s defense is on par, or better, than Hedges’. When he’s put into the same conversation as Bryce Harper, I’m giddy.
He’s not a polished major leaguer, but it won’t take long for him to reach the major leagues. Adley Rutschman, at just 21, just might instantly become everyone’s favorite Oriole by 7:10 pm tonight.
But let’s talk about the thoughts creeping into a lot of minds- what if the Baltimore Orioles don’t draft Adley Rutschman? What if the Orioles select a high school shortstop named Bobby Witt Jr? Or an outfielder from Vanderbilt? Or even a first baseman out of California? I have an opinion on that. It may not be popular and it may be too reasonable, but here it is – If the pick is Witt, or any other player connected to the Orioles with this pick, over Rutschman, the sun comes up tomorrow, the Orioles front office goes back to work to complete the rest of the draft, and Baltimore becomes the home of a truly elite prospect to build their franchise around.
Is it possible to be angry at adding the second-highest rated shortstop prospect since 1987, with Alex Rodriguez being the only one better, according to scouts?
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I’m not one to tell other fans how to cheer. If you’re reading this, you are more than likely a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, just like I am. We’ve likely crossed paths at Camden Yards and if we do in the future, I’d love to buy you a beer (even the trolls on here). So I won’t tell you not to get angry about the Orioles selecting one player over another, but I will say that I trust Mike Elias and the work of his staff.
The talk of not knowing who the pick will be is likely just pre-draft smoke, but it’s also a massive decision that deserves every bit of research, discussion, and more research that Elias and his team have put in. Maybe he really won’t have a final decision until draft time, but whoever it is, I’m down. I’m not thinking about the what-ifs, I’m thinking about the elite talent that we now get to call ours- a part of Birdland.
Happy draft day, folks. Head on over to @BirdswatcherFS on Twitter as we discuss every single draft pick the Baltimore Orioles make, from rounds 1-40.