The Baltimore Orioles appear to be in line to make one of the easiest decisions in recent MLB draft history Monday.
The Orioles will pick first in the 2019 MLB draft, and their prize should be Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman.
The 21-year-old's collegiate career ended in unexpected fashion Saturday, when the Beavers were eliminated from the NCAA tournament. But that means he can kick start his professional career immediately instead of waiting a few weeks because of a College World Series run.
The projected No. 1 pick is one of a few college players with impressive bats who could land in the top 10, while a handful of the other coveted prospects come from the high school ranks.
2019 MLB 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
3. Chicago White Sox: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Georgia)
4. Miami Marlins: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
5. Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Florida)
6. San Diego Padres: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
7. Cincinnati Reds: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
8. Texas Rangers: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
9. Atlanta Braves: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College
10. San Francisco Giants: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State
11. Toronto Blue Jays: George Kirby, RHP, Elon
12. New York Mets: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
13. Minnesota Twins: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
14. Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
15. Los Angeles Angels: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Washington)
17. Washington Nationals: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Will Wilson, SS, NC State
20. Seattle Mariners: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Illinois)
21. Atlanta Braves: Matt Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Florida)
22. Tampa Bay Rays: Tyler Callihan, IF/C, Providence HS (Florida)
23. Colorado Rockies: Michael Busch, 1B, North Carolina
24. Cleveland Indians: Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (California)
25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Daniel Espino, RHP, Premier Academy HS (Georgia)
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (Tennessee)
27. Chicago Cubs: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Florida)
28. Milwaukee Brewers: JJ Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
29. Oakland Athletics: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy HS (Alabama)
30. New York Yankees: Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington
31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyren Paris, SS, Freedom HS (California)
32. Houston Astros: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman is expected to be the first catcher taken with the No. 1 overall pick since Joe Mauer was chosen first by the Minnesota Twins in 2001.
By all accounts, Rutschman is a game-changer at the plate and behind the dish, and he is receiving hype as one of the best prospects to come through the draft in quite some time.
All you have to do is look at Rutschman's stats since his sophomore year, which were spelled out by Baseball America's J.J. Cooper, to realize why teams covet his bat:
Rutschman's college opponents also respect his bat immensely, which is why Cincinnati intentionally walked him with the bases loaded in the first game of the Corvallis regional Friday night.
Because of his all-around talent, it is hard to see Rutschman dropping from the No. 1 pick.
The consensus among talent evaluators is Rutschman's upside is remarkably high, as one northwest area scout pointed out to Sports Illustrated's Jon Tayler.
"Rutschman has the chance to be a generational talent," the scout said. "If he doesn't go [No. 1], I'd be shocked."
An MLB scouting director also chimed in with his evaluation of the Oregon State catcher to Tayler: "Everything I've heard is that he's on par with [Buster] Posey in overall long-term profile."
Baltimore's decision appears to be a no-brainer given the numbers Rutschman has put up in addition to the potential he possesses.
Rutschman will not make an impact in the majors right away, but if he continues on his current trajectory, he will surge up the minor league ranks and reach the MLB sooner rather than later.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
There is a possibility for two heavy hitters from the Pac-12 to go in the top five picks.
Cal's Andrew Vaughn is one of the best hitting prospects in the draft class, and like Rutschman, he could be on a fast path to the majors.
MLB.com's Jim Callis has Vaughn landing at No. 3 with the Chicago White Sox, but if he drops past that selection, the first baseman should land somewhere in the top six.
A scout told CBSSports.com's R.J. Anderson that there is a good chance Vaughn bats in the top four of a major league order in the near future thanks to his ability at the plate.
Even though Vaughn is one of the best pure hitters eligible for the draft, he may be passed on by a few teams because he is shorter than the typical first baseman and is a right-handed bat at a position in which some franchises prefer to have lefties.
Whichever team selects Vaughn in the top 10 will be going against the trend of avoiding first basemen in the opening part of the first round.
Since 2010, only Brendan McKay and Pavin Smith in 2017 were taken in the top 10 as first basemen.
While taking a right-handed first baseman could be seen as a risk by certain clubs, it is hard to ignore the statistics put up by the Golden Spikes Award finalist.
With that being said, the White Sox could take Vaughn at No. 3 if they prefer him over the other top prospects. And if they do not, the Miami Marlins should think hard about selecting him before he drops to the Detroit Tigers.
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