Rutschman, Witt, Vaughn lead list of MLB draft prospects
NEW YORK (AP) — Adley Rutschman has been a powerful presence at the plate and a formidable force behind it for Oregon State.
That tantalizing combination could make the switch-hitting catcher the No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft Monday night.
Baltimore leads things off for the second time in franchise history, and first since it selected LSU pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989. Rutschman, a Golden Spikes Award finalist and the Pac-12 player of the year, has been linked to the Orioles at No. 1 for most of the college season.
Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the son of former major league pitcher Bobby Witt; Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn; Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday; and Georgia high school shortstop CJ Abrams are also possibilities to have their names called early by Commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
“It’s hard to understate it — it’s a huge opportunity,” Baltimore general manager Mike Elias said. “Any time you’re picking high in the draft, not just the No. 1 pick, but a top-10 pick, you’ve got a pretty good shot of really getting a franchise cornerstone. But it’s not a 100% shot by any stretch of the imagination. It’s probably more like 50-50 if you look at the historical records of it. So you feel a lot of pressure. There’s a big upside to the opportunity, but nobody has a crystal ball and it’s not easy to nail.
“So we just do as much work as we can going into it, and do what we think is right.”
That could lead to the Orioles doing what has been expected for weeks: taking the impressive Rutschman, who hit .411 with a career-best 17 homers with 58 RBIs and threw out 13 of 27 baserunners for the Beavers.
Here’s a capsule look at some of the top players eligible for the draft (with position, school, age, height, weight and college class):