2019 MLB Draft order set: The Orioles are on the clock and here’s what to know

This past Sunday, the 2018 baseball season officially came to an end as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the World Series. It is Boston’s fourth championship in the last 15 years.

The Red Sox won 108 regular season games this year and had the best record in baseball, and, as they celebrate another title, the last place Baltimore Orioles will continue preparing for the 2019 amateur draft. The O’s lost 115 games this season and hold the first overall selection in next June’s draft. It is a significant moment for their rebuild.

Here is the first round order for the 2019 amateur draft. Keep in mind this is the reverse order of the standings, with last year’s record serving as a tiebreaker.

2019 MLB Draft order

Now here are a few things to know about the No. 1 pick and the 2019 draft in general.

It’s the second time O’s have No. 1 pick

The Orioles hold the top selection in the draft for the second time in franchise history. They used the No. 1 pick in the 1989 draft on highly regarded LSU right-hander Ben McDonald. McDonald reached the big leagues soon after the draft and pitched for the O’s from 1989-95 before finishing his career with the Brewers. He retired with a 3.91 ERA and 20.9 WAR in 1,291 1/3 career innings across nine seasons.

This marks the first time the Orioles are picking in the top five since their run of six consecutive top-five picks ended in 2012. Here are those six straight top-five picks:

  • 2007: Matt Wieters (5th overall)
  • 2008: Brian Matusz (4th overall)
  • 2009: Matt Hobgood (5th overall)
  • 2010: Manny Machado (3rd overall)
  • 2011: Dylan Bundy (4th overall)
  • 2012: Kevin Gausman (4th overall)

Injuries sabotaged Hobgood, who appeared in only six games above Class-A ball and never pitched above Double-A. He’s been out of baseball since 2015. Otherwise those six consecutive top five picks turned into five big leaguers, including one superstar in Machado. The O’s will hope for similar impact from the No. 1 pick in 2019.

Three teams have an extra first round pick

By rule, teams that fail to sign a first-round pick receive a compensation pick one spot later the next year. The Braves drafted Stewart, a right-hander from a Florida high school, with the No. 8 pick last year and did not sign him after they saw something they didn’t like during his physical. They receive the No. 9 pick this year as compensation. 

In the cases of the D-Backs and McLain, a California high school shortstop, and the Dodgers and Ginn, a Mississippi high school righty, the sides simply couldn’t agree to terms. The two youngsters headed to UCLA and Mississippi State, respectively, and the clubs receive compensation draft picks this year. These compensation picks are why there will be 33 first-round picks next year even though there are 30 MLB teams.

The draft order is not completely final

Draft picks will be gained and lost through free agent compensation. First-round picks are protected, however. Teams keep those now. They’ll surrender second and third and fourth and whatever other round picks as necessary when they sign a qualified free agent, but they get to keep their first-rounders. The free agent compensation picks gained and lost are now tied to the contract size and the team’s payroll status. It’s … complicated.

Furthermore, MLB gives out 14 additional competitive balance draft picks to small market teams each year. These picks are awarded through a lottery. The first eight come before the second round and the final six come after the second round. Those 14 competitive balance picks will be handed out in November. It is important to note those 14 picks can be traded. They are the only tradeable draft picks in MLB.

Who could go No. 1?

In a super early mock draft back in June, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo projected Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. His father, Bobby Sr., pitched for seven teams, mostly the Rangers, during a 16-year big league career that spanned 1986-2001. Mayo says Witt Jr. has “five-tool potential with the ability to stay at shortstop long-term.” Of course, it is still extremely early, and the draft landscape will change once the college and high school seasons begin in a few months.

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