The Baltimore Orioles have clinched the second overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft.
With just three games remaining on the Baltimore Orioles 2019 regular-season schedule, we now know with certainty where Mike Elias and his team will be drafting next season. As Detroit fell to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday evening and dropped to an overall record 46-111, the Tigers clinched the number one overall pick, giving the Orioles the number two spot with their current 52-107 record.
It will be the first time in franchise history that the Orioles have drafted in the number two spot. This season was just the second time Baltimore had the top draft pick, selecting former Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman in this year’s draft, and Louisiana State pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989.
While the Orioles appeared destined to repeat as the worst team in baseball, making Nate Karns their only major league free agent signing to help make the roster better, Baltimore found stretches of winning baseball, at least more than Detroit, and saw surprise seasons from guys like John Means, Pedro Severino, and Hanser Alberto, while witnessing a breakthrough year for third-year man Trey Mancini. It was all just enough to be not as bad as the Tigers, who traded away anyone worthy of a major league roster spot at the deadline.
Improvements from prospects already in the system and a strong 2019 draft class, led by Rutschman, propelled the Orioles farm system from a bottom-third of the league ranking to a Top 10 ranking in less than a year. Adding another elite prospect with their second overall pick in 2020, combined with another strong class, could see this ranking climb a little higher, depending on how much improvement we see from the 2019 class and veteran prospects in year two of Mike Elias’ system.
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Players picked from this position have accumulated a total of 714.9 bWAR, led by outfielder Reggie Jackson (74.0), pitcher Justin Verlander (70.9), 1B Will Clark (56.5), and OF J.D. Drew (44.9). Compare that to top overall picks who have accumulated a WAR of 1,068.2 and you see the potential difference in selecting in one spot versus the other. However, second ain’t bad.
As Mancini discussed with MASN’s Gary Thorne just a few days ago, this Orioles team didn’t want to finish with the worst record in baseball for a second-straight year. We’ve seen this team scrap all year and as small of a goal as “just don’t finish last” is, it was still a goal achieved for a young, unproven roster. At the end of the day, the Orioles will add another elite prospect with the potential to develop into a bonafide major leaguer into the pipeline, something you can’t stockpile enough of down on the farm.
Now, time to start diving into 2020 MLB draft research!