Quick Links

Who were the five best Orioles top draft picks?


Who were the five best Orioles top draft picks?

The draft hasn’t always been kind to the Orioles. Even when the team had the best record in baseball, it didn’t have particularly strong No. 1 draft choices.

The draft was instituted in 1965, the year before the team won its first World Series. From then until 1983, their last World Series, only two outstanding players were drafted in the first round.

Bobby Grich, taken in 1967, who played seven seasons with the Orioles and his final 10 with the Angels, was a superb major leaguer, but his best years weren’t in Baltimore.

Rich Dauer, taken in 1974, was a mainstay at second base for years and selected for the Orioles Hall of Fame this year.

Eight of the top picks in the team’s glory years never played in the majors at all. Four others, Randy Stein (1971), Dave Ford (1975) Dallas Williams (1976) and Drungo Hazewood (1977), had major short careers.

Junior Kennedy (1968), Don Hood (1969) and Mike Parrott (1973) had decent, but not particularly memorable, careers.

Of course Cal Ripken was an Orioles’ draft choice, but he was the team’s fourth pick—drafted behind Robert Boyce, Larry Sheets and Eddie Hook in 1978.

Boyce, who never advanced beyond Class A, was the first rounder, Sheets and Hook compensation picks in the second round. Ripken was the 48th player in the draft. Pitcher Mike Boddicker, who had an excellent career, was chosen in the sixth round that year.

On Friday, we presented a list of five of the worst Orioles’ top draft picks. Now, let’s look at who the five best were.

1) Mike  Mussina

Mussina was the 20th overall pick in the 1990 draft and was in the major leagues a year later. He divided his career between the Orioles and Yankees.

Upon his induction into the Orioles Hall of Fame, Mussina declined to say whether he’d prefer to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Oriole or Yankee.

He won 270 games in the majors.

2) Greg Olson

The fourth pick in the 1988 draft, Olson pitched 16 games in the minors before joining the Orioles in September. He was dominating almost instantly and won Rookie of the Year in 1989.

Olson saved 160 games in his Orioles career, still a franchise record. Injuries harmed his career, but managed to stay in the big leagues until 2001 with eight other teams.

3) Nick Markakis

Markakis, who was chosen seventh in 2003, was the best Orioles top draft pick since Mussina. A number of the top picks between 1991-2002  never made the majors, and a few (Jay Powell, Jayson Werth, Grich) achieved stardom elsewhere.

He played for the Greek Olympic team in 2004 and reached the majors in 2006.

Markakis has been a steady and dependable presence in right field ever since. 2012 was a year of change for him. He had three surgeries, two stints on the disabled list and a move to the leadoff spots.

Sadly for Markakis, he couldn’t play in the postseason.

4) Matt Wieters

Wieters was the fifth overall pick in 2007, didn’t sign until the deadline and had a fine 2008 season in the minors. By late May 2009, he was in the majors and has proven to be one of the game’s best catchers.

A two-time All-Star, Wieters will undoubtedly move up on this and other lists as his career continues.

5) Rich Dauer

Dauer played his entire 10-year career with the Orioles. He was the starting second baseman on the 1979 pennant winners and the 1983 World Series champs.

A longtime major league coach with Milwaukee and Colorado, he interviewed for the Orioles manager’s job in 2003.

A few years from now, the Orioles hope to argue that their recent drafts which included Markakis, Wieters, Brian Matusz, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman were the strongest group in team history.




Quick Links

Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

USA Today Sports Images

Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

Quick Links

Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

USA Today Sports Images

Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.


Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.


Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.


LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.