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Orioles 2019 MLB Draft: What to watch for

Orioles 2019 MLB Draft: What to watch for

The Major League Baseball draft isn’t like other drafts. The top prospects aren’t household names like they are in the NFL and NBA, and the players selected aren’t ready to make an impact right away.

And yet, the draft is arguably the most important, effective way for teams to add talent to their organization. Young players come cheaper than free agents, and having a homegrown pipeline of talent to draw from helps when replacing departing veterans. It also helps to have organizational depth when trying to make trades to improve your team.

It’s not news to anyone that drafting and developing talent is important, but it’s harder to invest in a draft without knowing much about the players or process.

The Orioles have had a lot of hits, and a lot more misses, with their first-round picks since 2000. In the top five, where they find themselves yet again, they’ve struck gold with guys like Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, while missing big with Billy Rowell and Matt Hobgood.

Will having their pick of the litter bring better fortune for the Orioles in 2019? We’ll find out Monday night.

Here’s what to watch for.

Where are they picking?

The Orioles, notably, have the top overall selection in the 2019 MLB Draft. It’s a big deal, as the Orioles have an opportunity to put a face on their current rebuild, while obviously hoping to add an elite talent to their farm system.

The O’s earned the top pick after going 47-115 in 2018, one of the worst records in Major League history.

What prospects are they looking at?

We’ve written a lot about the prospects the Orioles are likely considering at the top of the draft. For a while now, it’s looked like the draft is Adley Rutschman, and everybody else. 

There’s not much more to say about the Oregon State catcher that hasn’t already been said. He checks literally every possible box and combines maybe the highest floor *and* ceiling in the draft.

Reports are the Orioles have narrowed their choice down to four. Rutschman is certainly one of those choices. The other three definitely include Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn and high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. At this point, the fourth player is probably Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday.

Witt is an elite draftee in his own right, as he projects as a five-tool shortstop at the big league level. MLB Pipeline even has him ranked as the second-best shortstop to enter the draft in the last few decades, behind only Alex Rodriguez (the consensus best draft prospect ever).

Vaughn is the most polished hitter in the class, and his numbers have rivalled Kris Bryant’s epic 2013 stats at San Diego. His value is diminished as a first baseman, but his bat will play for a long time.

Bleday is college baseball’s Christian Yelich, in the sense that he’s always been a great hitter who all of a sudden figured out how to tap into his power.

Who else has been picked at this spot in the past?

Obviously, there have been some terrific players selected with the first overall pick. The obvious standout is Alex Rodriguez, an inner-circle Hall of Famer on statistics alone who has been kept out of baseball immortality thanks to his connections to steroid usage. Right behind him in career WAR among number one picks is Ken Griffey, Jr. and Chipper Jones, two of the best players ever.

Other successful players taken at the top include Joe Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez, David Price, Darryl Strawberry, Harold Baines, Justin Upton, B.J. Surhoff, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa and Gerrit Cole.

The only former Orioles top pick was LSU pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989.

What will be expected of the selection right away?

This could go one of two ways. Among the four players reportedly being considered, only one is a high schooler. Witt would likely go to Aberdeen to play with the short-season affiliate.

The other three, as polished collegiate hitters, could all theoretically move through the system quickly. Vaughn looks like a Major League-caliber bat right now, and Rutschman could be one of the better catchers in baseball by this time next year.

That said, there’s no reason to rush if you’re the Orioles. Tellingly, Mike Elias has shown a lot of patience with his talented young players, so it would be reasonable to expect any of Vaughn, Rutschman or Bleday to begin their Oriole careers with Low-A Delmarva, with a good chance of starting the 2020 season with High-A Frederick and reaching Double-A Bowie next summer, if things go well.

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Former Oriole Adam Jones has 3-hit night in D-Backs' victory, get pied

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MLB/Fox Sports Arizona

Former Oriole Adam Jones has 3-hit night in D-Backs' victory, get pied

In what was a huge night for Adam Jones, the former Orioles outfielder went 3-for-4, including a double and RBI. 

During his postgame interview with Fox Sports Arizona, Jarrod Dyson pied Adam Jones with a key lime pie. Such pie celebrations were a hallmark of Jones' tenure in Baltimore.

“He swung the bat well against us tonight,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "You look at his career numbers, obviously, he’s had a really productive career. He’s a tough out, and hurt us tonight, big-time.”

“He was very instrumental in their win tonight,” Trey Mancini, outfielder and teammate with Jones for three seasons, said. “I’ve seen him do that a lot when we played together, so it wasn’t as fun to be on the other side of it.”

When asked if he keeps track of the Orioles performance, Jones replied "I keep track of baseball . . . I keep track of what's going on, especially with my friends. I definitely keep track of what's going on with Schoop, Britton, Machado obviously I get to see him a lot more often, guys that are my good friends I keep track of . . . I've reached out to Trey, kept in contact with Gyvens, reach out to Bleier here and there. I think bigger than the game is friendships."

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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you

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