Here's what you need to know about Monday's MLB draft - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Here’s what you need to know about Monday’s MLB draft

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon


On Monday night, general manager Mike Elias will make his most important player decision when the Orioles have the first selection in the Major League Baseball draft. A number of fans are familiar with the inner workings of the NFL and NBA drafts, but don’t know as much about the baseball draft.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • How many picks do the Orioles have?

They have 41. They’ll pick first in each round, and they’ll have an additional pick in the competitive balance round B. The 10 lowest revenue teams and 10 smallest markets are eligible for a pick. The Orioles will pick first, 42nd and 71st in the draft’s first day.

  • Who will the Orioles pick?

On Friday, Elias said the Orioles are considering four players. It is believed they’re Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt, University of California outfielder Andrew Vaughn and Georgia high school shortstop C.J. Abrams.

Most believe it will be between Rutschman and Witt.

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  • If the Orioles draft Rutschman or Witt, how soon can they play?

Oregon State’s season came to an end on Saturday in the NCAA regional. Fans were excited when Rutschman was walked intentionally with the bases loaded on Friday night in the Beavers’ loss to Cincinnati.

Last year, the Orioles selected Rutschman’s teammate, shortstop Cadyn Grenier. Because Oregon State won the College World Series last year, Grenier played in only 43 games for Low-A Delmarva.

Rutschman, who could also begin his professional career with the Shorebirds, might be similarly restricted, especially because catching is such a punishing position, but Oregon State’s early exit could get him to pro ball sooner.

As a high school player, Witt would probably begin his professional career with Rookie League Gulf Coast or Short Season Aberdeen.

  • What would Rutschman or Witt sign for?

The Orioles can spend up to $13,821,300 to sign their picks in the first 10 rounds. MLB’s recommended maximum slot value for the top selection is $8,415,300.

  • Can the Orioles trade players to pick up additional draft picks?

The only picks that can be traded are competitive balance picks. Unlike the NFL and NBA, picks in the rest of the draft can’t be dealt.

  • When can we determine if a draft was successful?

It usually takes about five years to measure how successful a draft was. In 2014, the Orioles didn’t have a first- or second-round pick because they signed free agents Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Four of their selections that year have played for the Orioles this season: pitchers David Hess (5th round), Tanner Scott (6th), utilityman Stevie Wilkerson (8th) and John Means (11th).

Means didn’t get a real shot at the majors until this year, and the player selected in the round before Hess, pitcher Pat Connaughton, is playing for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

  • The Orioles took catcher Matt Wieters in the 2007 draft. How does Rutschman compare to Wieters?

Many scouts believe that Rutschman is better than Wieters, who was also considered a top-shelf college catcher. The argument for taking Rutschman, a switch-hitter like Wieters, is that good catchers are hard to find, and that the Orioles, who selected pitchers in the first round the last three years, need a catcher to nurture those young pitchers.

Wieters was heavily hyped at the time, and some incorrectly believe he was a disappointment. He was a solid catcher for the Orioles from 2009-16, but just didn’t live up to the hype.

If the Orioles take Rutschman, they’ll hope he’s better than Wieters.

  • What would a Rutschman selection mean for Chance Sisco?

This isn’t the NFL draft. MLB teams rarely draft specifically for positional need.

If Sisco comes up later this year and proves that he’s a legitimate major league catcher, he could always be traded because teams need catchers. He could change positions or become a backup to Rutschman.

When Wieters was taken in 2007, he came to the major leagues about two years later. Rutschman could take a similar path, and the Orioles would need a catcher until he’s ready, and if Sisco is good enough, he could be that guy.

  • Why aren’t the Orioles considering pitchers for the top pick?

This is thought to be a draft year bereft of pitchers worthy of a top selection, but the Orioles will probably still take pitchers with many of their succeeding 40 picks.

  • Even the best catchers play only about 120 games. Is that an argument for selecting Witt?

Should the Orioles select Rutschman, the betting is that the Kansas City Royals, who pick second, would take Witt.

If Rutschman and Witt are selected with the top two picks, they’ll forever be compared and debated, but the argument is that excellent catchers are rarer and have a greater impact on a game than great shortstops.

The Orioles probably can’t lose if they pick Rutschman or Witt.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    June 2, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Rutschman, Rutschman, Rutschman…..please, love the O’s

    • BigBirdsBird

      June 2, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      If it is not Rutschman we shoot the warehouse the Bird!!!!!

      Bigbirdsbird Bigbirdsbird, Bigbirdsbird, Bigbirdsbird

  2. Stephen in Shanghai

    June 2, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Good summary, Rich! After reading extensively, I’m hoping they take Rutschman, but trust in Elias. While the focus is on the 1st pick, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the rest of their picks. To truly get the rebuild off the ground, they need to hit on a few players. This will be our 1st chance to see what magic Elias has up his sleeve.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 2, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Xei-xei, Stephen in Shahghai. It will take several years to get a reading on this draft class.

  3. cedar

    June 2, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for the insight Rich. I have to agree with the experts that Rutschman would be the best pick. Wieters was valued for his glove, arm, and how he handled the staff. If Rustchman only ever matches Wieters performance than this is a win for a rebuilding team that is going to need consistency behind the plate to build consistency on the mound.

  4. Fareastern89

    June 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Either Witt or Rutschman would be fine. Just hoping they don’t play under-slot games with Vaughn or Abrams.

    • Jbigle1

      June 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      I doubt we play the underslot game at #1 considering we only have 3 picks in the first 90. Had we not signed Cobb we’d have an additional pick and maybe that’d be more of a risk.

      • Jbigle1

        June 2, 2019 at 4:25 pm

        Sorry cobb’s Selection was last years draft. Not sure why I typed that up…

  5. Hallbe62

    June 2, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Good informative article Rich. Like most here I’m hoping we take Rutschman.

  6. PC in OC

    June 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I agree. Elias, Please, no Surprises.

  7. Bhoffman1

    June 2, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Mountcastle three homers today. Hays two. The future along with Rutcschman. We need a SS badly and of course pitching.

    • CalsPals

      June 2, 2019 at 7:12 pm

      I’m guessing there would be a pretty good SS w/the top pick next yr, not sure how Rutschman’s teammate last yr is doing for the O’s….

      • BigBirdsBird

        June 2, 2019 at 11:09 pm

        Great point it looks like this will end coming down to Baltimore vs KC for the top pick next year. We can always look at a SS next year assuming there is a top rated guy available. Not rooting against the team but if all goes well we have 2 more years after this with top 1 to 3 picks and get add 3 studs at the very top of the draft to try to rebuild this

  8. BirdsCaps

    June 3, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Would the decision of Rutschman or Witt show Elias’s hand as to how long the rebuild will take? I would guess that Rutschman will take 2 full years until a call up is a possibility. Witt is a wild card. Some HS players shoot through the minors, while many take quite a long time to mature. Also, does the rule about trading picks hurt small mkt teams? Trade deadline deals and stupid overpays to pick close to the top benefit many small mkt teams in other sports.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 3, 2019 at 7:55 am

      I don’t think it would, BirdsCaps. I think they’ll take who they think is the best player.

      Mike Trout was drafted out of high school, and he debuted barely two years later.

      Not sure who the rule against trading picks hurts. I don’t think a team would have given their No. 1 pick for Manny Machado last year.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2019 at 8:37 am

      I was told months ago that the picks were not tradeable, ala NFL…..

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 3, 2019 at 10:18 am

      As I point out in the article you’re commenting on, the only picks that are tradeable are Competitive Balance Picks.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      Thx

  9. willmiranda

    June 3, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the solid info, Rich. Who are the agents for the top four guys? Signability can be an issue.

  10. BigBirdsBird

    June 4, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Bigbirdsbird IN DA HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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