The Orioles and Royals battled back and forth most of 2018 for the title of the worst team in baseball, and ultimately, Baltimore pulled "ahead" to earn the top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Any number one pick is important, but this one feels especially crucial, as Peter Angelos and his sons elected not to renew the contracts of GM Dan Duquette or manager Buck Showalter.
With a new regime in place, the player selected by the Orioles to kick off this year's draft will not only have the usual high expectations placed on their shoulders, but will also serve as the face of Mike Elias' rebuild of the organization.
Thankfully for the Orioles, this year's draft class, while not particularly deep with talent, appears to be historically strong at the top. Adley Rutschman, the projected top choice by many, will be a top 10 prospect in all of baseball the day he signs, according to some evaluators. The top three to four players as a group rival that of any in the last several classes.
Whoever they end up choosing to wear the black and orange going forward, the Orioles will be adding a talented, respected prospect to a farm system that desperately needs more future stars. It's especially exciting to the front office brass in Baltimore that each of the potential top picks in the class is not only talented, but also has a great head on his shoulders. Across the board among the top four guys, scouts rave about their work ethics and makeups.
It's been a tough season to watch in Baltimore, Miami, and Kansas City, but draft night will be an exciting moment in history for each of those franchises.
The Orioles will make the first selection in this year's draft at 7 p.m. on June 3.
2019 MLB Draft How to Watch:
What: 2019 MLB Draft Day One: Rounds 1-2
Date: Monday, June 3, 2019
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: MLB Network studios, Secaucus, NJ
TV Channel: MLB Network
Live Stream: MLB.com
How many rounds are there in the 2019 MLB Draft?
There are 40 rounds in the 2019 MLB Draft. Rounds 1-2 will air on MLB Network at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 3. Rounds 3-10 will stream on MLB.com, beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4. Rounds 11-40 will also stream on MLB.com, beginning at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5.
2019 MLB Draft prospects to know:
Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman is the complete package both at the plate and behind it, and is considered by many evaluators to be the best incoming MLB prospect in several seasons. It's possible the Orioles look elsewhere with their first selection, but it would qualify as a major surprise if they don't take the future star catcher.
Bobby Witt Jr., SS, High School (Texas)
The top prep player in the class, Witt projects to be a future five-tool shortstop, making him an incredibly valuable commodity. The son of a former pitcher, Witt has the defensive skillset to stick at shortstop, plus power at the plate, and a terrific makeup.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Vaughn is having the best collegiate offensive career since Kris Bryant, which is a ton of praise. The first baseman lives up to that praise at the plate, winning the Golden Spikes Award as a sophomore in 2018 and taking his bat to another level this season. The defensive profile is the only thing keeping him from going higher.
CJ Abrams, SS, High School (Georgia)
Abrams is supremely athletic, blessed with elite speed and a quick bat. His natural talent should keep him at shortstop, with Gold Glove-caliber play in center field the likely defensive floor. If he can tap into his power while mainting great contact skills, his upside rivals anyone's in the class, Rutschman and Witt included.
Recent No. 1 picks in the MLB Draft:
2018: SP Casey Mize (Detroit Tigers)
2017: SS Royce Lewis (Minnesota Twins)
2016: OF Mickey Moniak (Philadelphia Phillies)
2015: SS Dansby Swanson (Arizona Diamondbacks)
2014: SP Brady Aiken (Houston Astros)
2013: SP Mark Appel (Houston Astros)
2012: SS Carlos Correa (Houston Astros)
2011: SP Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh Pirates)
2010: C/OF Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)
2009: SP Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals)
What is the 2019 MLB Draft order?
3. White Sox
9. Braves (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Carter Stewart)
11. Blue Jays
26. Diamondbacks (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain)
31. Dodgers (compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn)
33. Red Sox
How was the 2019 MLB Draft order was determined?
The Baltimore Orioles hoped to compete in the 2018 season, but down seasons from multiple core players and injuries combined to take them out of contention early enough to sell off most of their assets at the 2018 Trade Deadline. After the firesale, it was all but certain they would lose 100+ games, but few expected a 47-115 final record, the worst in baseball.
The Royals were also historically bad, finishing with a 58-104 record to earn the second pick in the draft. In the same division, the White Sox went 62-100 to earn the draft's third selection. Baltimore, Kansas City and Chicago were the only three teams to lose at least 100 games, as the Marlins had baseball's fourth-worst record at 63-98.
The Tigers round out the top five in this year's draft after a 64-98 season, giving the AL Central three of the five worst records in all of baseball.