YES!!!! YES YES YES YES YES. The Orioles did what we all thought they would do for the last 5 months. Mike Elias and company decided to take the best overall talent in the draft, Oregon State catcher, Adley Rutschman, first overall in the 2019 draft. Rutschman became the first catcher drafted 1-1 since Joe Mauer back in 2001, and there is a legit chance he will be better than Mauer. I was so damn scared they would mess this up and try and cute with it, but nope, Mike Elias did the damn thing. He made the absolute right choice.
Scouts have said he was the best catching prospect since Buster Posey, they said he was the best overall prospect since Bryce Harper. He's so much more advanced than any catcher in recent memory, it had to be Adley. The 21-year-old switch hitting catcher just finished up another INSANE year for Oregon State, .418 average, .580 OBP, .764 slugging %, and an OPS of 1.344. He also added in 76 hits in 56 games, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 17 homers, 58 RBIs, 37 strikeouts, and 75 walks. Yes, 75 walks, and that isn't including the bases loaded IBB he got in the College Baseball playoffs last week. He was named the National Collegiate Player Of The Year last week, Pac-12 Player Of The Year, and Pac-12 Defensive Player Of The Year as well. Adley is as close as you can come to a can't miss prospect, and the Orioles nailed it. He was the odds on favorite the second the college season ended, and he proved he deserved that spot with his play. There is no other way around it, he's an absolute stud and a half.
I had read before that the second Rutschman gets drafted he will become a top-10 prospect in baseball, maybe even top 5. And with Oregon State being eliminated this weekend, that just means he can report that much earlier. I'm stoked to watch him, I want to see everything he does. From everything I've read and heard, he is a god damn wizard with the pitching staff too. With a group of young guys tearing their way through the minors, that is exactly what they need. A leader behind the plate who knows how to call a game, and to make the pitchers better, Adley can do that. His pop time is stupid good, and behind the plate he has been praised very highly for his defense, he is absolutely by far and away the most complete player in this draft. He put up much better numbers than Cal's Andrew Vaughn, another guy going top 5, is unreal on D, and is a great leader.
In the days leading up to the draft, Elias said the Orioles had it down to four players, with Adley and Bobby Witt Jr, the high school stud shortstop being the other big guy, but I think they knew all along they had to take the catcher. Elias mentioned getting the most for their money, which is what he made his calling card in Houston. They drafted Carlos Correa first overall and used the under-slot tactic to pay Correa. They gave him a little less money and used that money to draft and sign other guys such as Lance McCullers. This is not a case where the Orioles could have done that and got fancy. They had to make the right pick and they did. Credit to Mike Elias for throwing his gigantic balls on the table. With that first overall pick it lays the groundwork for the future, they've got a superstar caliber guy behind the plate, some nice pitching pieces on the farm, and will likely have a few more years of top picks. Don't get me wrong, Bobby Witt and Andrew Vaughn will be good players, maybe great players, but when your team is balls deep in a rebuild, you need the best talent out there, Adley is that.
The Orioles also have pick #42 and #71 so there is a chance they can add some more talent, but the big story is Adley Rutschman coming to Baltimore with the first overall pick. I can't wait to see this kid get to work.
PS. His freshman year he was also the kickoff specialist for the Oregon State football team and in high school kicked a 63-yard field goal. Maybe he double dips and boots Justin Tucker from the kicker spot with the Ravens?