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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.




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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."