ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Three years ago, Oriole fans couldn’t help but talk about the team’s second draft pick in team history. Most draft pundits thought the Orioles would take Adley Rutschman, although some thought Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. was the better choice.
The Orioles took Rutschman with the first pick, and the Kansas City Royals, at second, took Witt.
With the unexpected success of the 2022 Orioles, not as much attention is being paid to this year’s top pick, and there is even more uncertainty.
July 9e, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said the team has five players under consideration. They are believed to be Georgia High School outfielder Druw Jones, Georgia High School outfielder Termarr Johnson, Oklahoma High School outfielder Jackson Holliday, Florida High School outfielder Elijah Green and Stop -court of Cal Poly Brooks Lee.
According to odds released Saturday by SportsBetting.ag and BetOnline.ag, Lee is the favorite to be the first pick in Sunday’s draft, followed by Jones, Holliday and Johnson.
After the 2021 draft, when the Orioles selected outfielder Colton Cowser with the No. 5 pick, early draft simulations had Green as the early favorite although Lee was also mentioned. Lee is the only college player of the five, and the 21-year-old had two great seasons at Cal Poly, where he played for his father, Larry, the head coach.
After missing most of 2020 due to knee surgery and the pandemic, Lee has rebounded strongly.
This season in 58 games, Lee hit .357 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs, with a 1.126 OPS. He walked almost twice as often as he punched (46 to 28). In 2021, Lee hit .342 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs and a 1.010 OPS.
If Lee is the Orioles’ pick, it would be the fourth straight year Elias has selected a varsity position player (Rutschman in 2019, outfielder Heston Kjerstad in 2020 and Cowser in 2021).
The Orioles have the 33rd42n/a and 67e choice on the first day of the draft. 33rd the choice is the competitive balance One turn, the 42n/a the first choice of the second round, and the 67e is the competitive B-round pick the Orioles received in the trade to Miami for relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser.
A year ago, it was thought the Orioles should take Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker with the fifth pick, if he was available. He was, and they dropped him, and Rocker fell to the New York Mets with the 10e take.
Rocker and the Mets did not agree to a contract due to a physical issue, and he is back in the draft.
The Orioles, who didn’t take a pitcher until the fifth round of Elias’ first three drafts, could find Rocker there at 33, but according to Baseball America’s latest mock draft, Rocker is expected to be selected 13.e by the Los Angeles Angels.
Baseball America has Holiday as the first pick with Lee at six for Miami.
MLB Pipeline predicts Jones will be the first pick.
There’s no consensus first pick this season, and perhaps Lee is the betting favorite because he’s the highest-rated college position player in many rankings, and Elias has a pick record of college position players with the first pick.
The Orioles have $16,924,000 to spend on their top pick. The slot value for the first pick is $8,442,200, and while the Orioles signed Kjerstad with the second pick and Cowser with the fifth under the suggested slot, there’s no indication the Orioles will do it again Sunday night.
This could be the last year the Orioles have a high draft pick for a while. There will be a new draft lottery for next year, and if the Orioles continue to play well, they won’t have much of a chance of earning the top pick in the new weighted draft lottery, which will include all teams not playoffs.
If the Orioles end up selecting Lee with the No. 1 pick instead of one of the high-profile high school stars, fans should know that the team’s No. 1 pick is named after the most beloved of all Orioles, Brooks Robinson. .