Major League Baseball's 2019 first-year player draft will start Monday evening at 7 p.m. ET. The draft will pause after the first two rounds are completed, then resume Tuesday until the completion of the 10th round. Teams will finish out the 40-round event on Wednesday. The Baltimore Orioles hold the first overall pick for the second time in their franchise history, and new general manager Mike Elias and company have done well to conceal their intent.
For much of the buildup to the draft, the expectation was that the Orioles would pick Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Widely considered the best player in the draft, Rutschman is a switch-hitter with a good mitt who scouts believe has the potential for four plus tools. Yet a MLB.com report on Sunday suggested others within the industry believe the Orioles will take someone else -- be it Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn or Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday:
Now, about 24 hours before the first pick is announced, there is some buzz that the Orioles will not be taking the switch-hitting backstop. High-level scouts from two different teams picking later in the first round were insistent that Baltimore is not planning on taking Rutschman.
Whether or not this report proves to be a false alarm -- or, perhaps, an 11th-hour negotiating ploy -- is to be determined. We figured we would lay out some potential explanations for why the Orioles would use the No. 1 pick on anyone but Rutschman.