The Orioles have a new front office and new dugout leadership. And now, the club has a new top prospect after officially selecting star Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick of the 2019 Rule 4 amateur draft.
Though the Baltimore organization kept things quiet in the build-up to the draft, it would have rated as a major surprise had the club gone in a different direction. Rutschman checks all the boxes you want to see in a 1-1 draft selection.
Rutschman is widely considered the best overall prospect available this year. He’s a highly accomplished collegiate catcher who helped his team to a national championship last year. (Indeed, he was named the most outstanding player of the College World Series.)
Scouting reports on Rutschman, an Oregon native, read like a creat-a-player dream list from a video game. He’s a switch hitter who has walked more often than striking out in college even while delivering outstanding power. Scouts also grade him as a top-tier defensive performer behind the dish.
It’s a momentous decision for an Orioles club that has fallen on hard times after a questionable call to attempt to contend in 2018. The team’s new front office will look to assemble as much talent as possible and ramp up toward a return to glory, with Rutschman’s timeline likely to be a key factor.
The first overall pick comes with a $8.42MM bonus allocation. The O’s have the second-highest overall pool allocation. While the Diamondbacks won’t choose until the 16th overall pick, they added a pair of compensation picks that significantly boosted their overall availability.