For just the second time in franchise history, the Baltimore Orioles hold the first overall pick ahead of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. The Orioles laboured to a 47-115 record in 2018, crawling past the Detroit Tigers’ 43 regular season wins from 2003. Baltimore snapped a six-year run of selecting in the top five back in 2013 but the Orioles have unfortunately slipped back down the MLB pecking order.
The three-time World Series winners have reached the playoffs five times since their most recent success in baseball’s showpiece series and punters will be wary of backing the Orioles with that poor record in mind. Early reports are suggesting that Bobby Witt Jr could be the man to head to Baltimore with the top pick in the latest MLB draft – but it is still early and it would be foolish to make too many concrete predictions regarding Baltimore’s pick.
Baltimore selected Ben McDonald from Louisiana State University with the first overall pick back in 1989 and he was a fan favorite during his six-year stint with the Orioles. If you get that top pick right, the reward is spectacular. Taking a high-risk, high-reward approach to the choice is the correct way to go more often than not. And Baltimore have, for the most part, got their picks right in recent times…
Five of Baltimore’s six top-five picks from 2007 to 2012 turned out to be successful with the Orioles franchise. Manny Machado, the third overall pick in 2010, was a huge hit during his six-year tenure with Baltimore. If the number one pick turns out to be as vital to the Orioles as Machado was, Baltimore fans will be happy enough. Keeping him with the team may be difficult though.
Backing the Orioles to emerge victorious after such a difficult 2018 season would be foolish to say the least. Baltimore fans won’t be expecting too much ahead of the 2019 campaign but there’s no harm dreaming of a fourth World Series success. MLB odds on bet365 show the Orioles at 250/1 to prevail and it could be a long and gradual process back to the top of the sport. This isn’t going to happen overnight.
Witt Jr has been described by some as the best prospect in the 2019 draft pool. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com claimed that he has five-tool potential with a real ability to perform at shortstop for the long term – he could be a roaring success at Baltimore. His father, Bobby Witt Sr., was a pitcher for 16 years on the big stage and he could be destined to follow in those footsteps as he looks to enjoy a long and successful career.
The Baltimore Orioles can only get better from here and Bobby Witt Jr. would offer a huge boost ahead of the 2019 campaign. It could all change for the Orioles in the offseason as they look to rebuild and restructure. Give it three to five years and a World Series berth could be a realistic objective if everything goes to plan.