Adley Rutschman heard the chatter for months that he’d be the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
The switch-hitting Oregon State catcher just kept slugging at the plate and throwing out would-be base stealers all season from behind it — making it an easy call for the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” Rutschman said from Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, shortly after becoming the top selection. “Just to look back on how I was as a kid and seeing what my expectations were, how far I’ve come from there, it’s special.”
The announcement by commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB Network studios marked the second time the Orioles led off the draft — they took LSU pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989.
With the No. 2 choice, the Kansas City Royals grabbed Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., son of former big league pitcher Bobby Witt.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china
The younger Witt has draft-day bragging rights on his father, who won 142 games over 16 seasons after being selected No. 3 overall by Texas in 1985.
“Now I’ve got him beat,” Bobby Witt Jr. said on MLB Network.
The rebuilding Orioles had the No. 1 pick after plummeting to the worst record in the majors last season. They’re at the bottom of the standings again with an 18-41 start — but getting Rutschman provides hope for a franchise that finished last in the AL East the past two years.cheap official nike nfl jerseys
“He’s everything you want and he plays a premium defensive position with athleticism that gives him versatility to play elsewhere, as needed,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said in a video statement posted on the team’s Twitter account. “A future fixture for this organization.”
The 21-year-old Rutschman had been the favorite to go first overall since he led Oregon State to the College World Series championship last year and was selected the most outstanding player.
He followed that up with a dominant junior season for the Beavers, hitting .411 with a career-best 17 homers to go with 58 RBIs and a school-record 76 walks. On defense, he threw out 13 of 27 runners attempting to steal.
Rutschman, a native of Sherwood, Oregon, is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the country’s top college player. He was the Pac-12 player of the year and the conference’s co-defensive player of year.
His selection marked the seventh time a player drafted as a catcher was taken with the top pick and the first since Minnesota tabbed Joe Mauer in 2001.