Press release Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball has completed the first day of the 2018 Draft, which aired live on MLB Network and MLB.com this evening from Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. In total, 78 players were selected during Round 1, First Round Compensation, Competitive Balance Round A, Round 2, Competitive Balance Round B and Second Round Compensation.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick in the Draft. Rutschman was the first catcher taken with the first overall selection since Minnesota selected Joe Mauer in 2001, and he joined right-handed pitcher Ben McDonald (1989) as the only number one overall picks in Orioles history.
Four players who were in attendance at Studio 42 were selected on the opening night, including three in the first round and one with the first pick of the first compensation round. The players in attendance included Lake Travis H.S. (TX) third baseman Brett Baty, who was selected 12th overall by the New York Mets; San Jacinto Junior College right-handed pitcher Jackson Rutledge, who was drafted 17th overall by the Washington Nationals; Georgia Premier Academy right-handed pitcher Daniel Espino, who was taken 24th overall by the Cleveland Indians; and IMG Academy (FL) right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone, who was taken 33rd overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Kansas City Royals selected Colleyville Heritage H.S. (TX) shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick in the Draft. Witt Jr. is the son of former Major League pitcher Bobby Witt, who was the third overall pick in the 1985 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. With the selection of Witt Jr. tonight, the pair became the highest drafted father-son duo in Major League history, eclipsing Tom (6th overall, 1966) and Ben Grieve (2nd overall, 1994). Other notable selections from the opening night included Hunter Bishop (10th overall, SF), the brother of Seattle Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, who was promoted to the Majors yesterday; Logan Davidson (29th overall, OAK), the son of former Major League outfielder Mark Davidson; Grae Kessinger (68th overall, HOU), the grandson of six-time All-Star shortstop Don Kessinger; Matthew Lugo (69th overall, BOS), the nephew of nine-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltrán; and Dominic Fletcher (75th overall, ARI), the brother of Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher.
Seven of the first 33 selections (21.2%) and 19 of tonight’s 78 picks (24.4%) come from diverse backgrounds, including African-Americans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders. Those selected in the first 33 included Riley Greene (5th overall, DET); C.J. Abrams (6th overall, SD); Alek Manoah (11th overall, TOR); Keoni Cavaco (13th overall, MIN); Greg Jones (22nd overall, TB); Espino (24th overall, CLE); and Malone (33rd overall, ARI). With the selections of Greene and Abrams, tonight marked the second time in three years that two African-American players were selected within the top six picks (also 2017 with top overall pick Royce Lewis and second overall pick Hunter Greene). Overall, 12 of the 78 selections tonight were African-American (15.4%).
Fourteen players who participated in 2018-2019 Premier events for the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) program by MLB and USA Baseball were selected on the first night. The players include Witt Jr. (2nd overall, KC); Greene (5th overall, DET); Baty (12th overall, NYM); Corbin Carroll (16th overall, ARI); Sammi Siani (37th overall, PIT); Gunnar Henderson (42nd overall, BAL); Joshua Mears (48th overall, SD); Kendall Williams (52nd overall, TOR); Josh Wolf (53rd overall, NYM); Kyren Paris (55thoverall, LAA); Trejyn Fletcher (58th overall, STL); Antoine Kelly (65th overall, MIL); Lugo (69th overall, BOS); and Jimmy Lewis (78th overall, LAD). The structure of the voluntary program provides a streamlined, official identification and assessment pathway service for elite high school age athletes to maximize their exposure to MLB Clubs and their scouts by conducting regionalized, professional workouts where they can be evaluated. At each PDP event, players undergo a unique athletic assessment consisting of sport performance vision screening, swing analysis and precise physical testing.
Additional development programming offered by MLB & USA Baseball that was reflected in the first night of the draft includes the diversity-focused Elite Development Invitational (now Hank Aaron Invitational), which saw two alumni selected in Nasim Nuñez (2017-2018 EDI) and Kyren Paris (2015-2018 EDI); the similarly diversity-focused Breakthrough Series, which had four alumni selected in Nuñez (2017-2018), Paris (2017-2018), Yordys Valdes (2018) and Isaiah Campbell (2014); and the inter-state rivalry tournament States Play, which had five alumni chosen on Day One, including Witt Jr. (Texas), Baty (Texas), Wolf (Texas), Paris (California) and Lewis (Texas). Lastly, three participants in the 2018 High School Home Run Derby during MLB All-Star Week in Washington D.C. were selected, including Witt Jr. (the 2018 H.S. Home Run Derby Champion), Green and Rece Hinds.
For the first time in history, position players represented each of the first six selections of the first round. The previous mark came in 2005, when each of the first five players drafted were position players. Overall, nine shortstops were selected in the first round of the Draft, the most among all positions and the most ever taken in the opening round, surpassing the previous mark of eight in 1971, 2002 and 2015. Six right-handed pitchers were selected in the first round, the second consecutive year that less than 10 right-handers were chosen in the opening round. It marked the first time since 2007-2008 that less than 10 right-handers were taken in the first round of consecutive Drafts.
Other players taken in the first round tonight included four left-handed pitchers, four outfielders, three third basemen, three catchers, two first basemen and one second baseman. With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 31st selection of Michael Busch out of the University of North Carolina, tonight marked just the second time in eight years (also 2017 – Keston Hiura) that a second baseman was chosen in the opening round. Three catchers were selected in the first round for the second consecutive year, the first time it has happened since 2007-2008. With only four outfielders drafted in the first round, it matched 2011 for the fewest number of outfielders selected in the opening round since 2008, when Aaron Hicks was the lone outfielder taken.
A total of 22 players in the first round were chosen from college, marking the most ever for the opening round, while 10 were selected from the high school ranks. The 10 high school selections represented the fewest in the first round since nine were taken in 2008. The state of California produced six players in the first round, followed by Texas (5), Florida (3), North Carolina (3), Georgia (2) and Washington (2). For the 17th time in the last 18 years, at least one pair of teammates (college or high school) were selected in the first round when first baseman Andrew Vaughn (3rd overall, CWS) and catcher Korey Lee (32nd overall, HOU) were drafted out of UC Berkeley.
The 2019 Draft will continue on Tuesday via conference call beginning with the third round at 1:00 p.m. (ET) and is scheduled to go through the 10th round. The Draft will resume on Wednesday beginning with the 11th round at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). The Draft will have 40 rounds and a Club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds.
MLB.com will continue its exclusive live programming of the Draft’s final two days with a live draft show from its New York studios at 12:30 p.m. (ET) tomorrow, followed by a live pick-by-pick stream and draft and scouting expert commentary. It also will provide Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of hundreds of draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. On Twitter, the official Draft Twitter account, @MLBDraft, will provide up-to-the-moment updates and commentary using the official Draft hashtag, #MLBDraft, while @MLBDraftTracker will tweet all picks as they are made.