On Monday, the Orioles get two chances to make a first-round pick in the First Year Player Draft. They have the 25th and 36th choices. The 36th pick is in compensation for Nelson Cruz signing with Seattle.
Who are some of the best first-rounders in Orioles history. For argument’s sake, I’m including only true first-rounders, not supplemental picks. Brian Roberts, who was picked xx in 1999, was the best of those.
1) Mike Mussina
Mussina was the 20th pick in 1990’s draft. In a little more than a year, Mussina was in the majors.
What a career he had! With the Orioles, he was 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA. Mussina threw over 200 innings seven times in 10 Orioles seasons, and won 19 and 18 games twice.
His 147 wins trail only Jim Palmer and Dave McNally, and his 2,212 strikeouts are second to Palmer.
Mussina won four Gold Gloves.
2) Nick Markakis
Markakis, who was the seventh overall selection in 2003, had a stellar Orioles career. He’s sixth on the team’s all-time hit list with 1,547. He hit over .290 six times in nine Orioles season, and played a solid right field.
In five of his nine seasons, he played 160 or more games and won the Gold Glove twice.
3) Matt Wieters
Arguably the best catcher in Orioles history, Wieters was the fifth pick in 2007.
A three-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner, Wieters caught at least 130 games from 2011-13. He’s thrown out fully one-third of runners who tried to steal on him.
Wieters also hit more than 20 homers in each season from 2011-13.
4) Manny Machado
Sure, this may be a bit premature, but Machado is again showing why everyone was raving about him in his first two seasons.
He was the third overall pick in 2010 and signed just two weeks after Buck Showalter became the Orioles manager.
He led the American League with 51 doubles in 2013 and won the Platinum Glove.
Machado’s play at third base has been brilliant, and he’s under team control for another 3 ½ seasons.
5) Gregg Olson
Olson, who was the third overall pick in 1988, signed on June 28 and was in the majors just over two months later, had 160 saves for the Orioles. That’s still a club record.
Injuries greatly reduced his effectiveness, and while he played just six of his 14 seasons with the Orioles, they were by far his best.
After leaving the Orioles, Olson played for eight other teams and had 57 saves.
There were others who had good careers: Bobby Grich (1967), Rich Dauer (1974), Ben McDonald (1989), Jeffrey Hammonds (1992) and most interestingly, Jayson Werth (1997).
Werth was drafted by the Orioles as a catcher, but was converted to an outfielder and has played 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals.
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