The 2019 Draft kicks off tonight as fans will get their first look at names that could define the next generation of MLB talent. Before the first pick is announced, MLB Pipeline has compiled a quick primer to give everything you need to know before this marquee event.
How do I watch?
Tonight: Coverage begins with the Draft Preview Show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network’s Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A (picks 1-41) broadcast on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com. Picks 42-78 (Round 2, Competitive Balance Round B and second-round compensation picks) will be streamed on MLB.com.
Tuesday: MLB.com’s exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET and takes you through Rounds 3-10 with live analysis from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo.
Wednesday: Exclusive coverage of Day 3 begins at noon ET on MLB.com and takes you through the end of the Draft.
Who has the top pick?
The Orioles own this year’s No. 1 overall pick after finishing with the Majors’ worst record in 2018. Baltimore owns the top pick for just the second time since the June amateur Draft began in 1965. The first time was in 1989, when the Orioles selected right-hander Ben McDonald out of LSU. McDonald pitched in seven Major League seasons with Baltimore, going 58-53 with a 3.89 ERA, before finishing his career with the Brewers.
Mayo’s poll of 20 Major League executives has the Orioles selecting No. 1 Draft prospect Adley Rutschman, a catcher out of Oregon State, by a wide margin. But some believe that general manager Mike Elias and his staff are also high on high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn.
Who has the most money to spend on signing bonuses in the first 10 rounds?
The Orioles have the No. 1 overall pick, but the D-backs own the biggest allotment at $16,093,700. Arizona was compensated for:
• Failing to sign 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain (No. 26 overall pick)
• The loss of free agents Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock (Nos. 33 and 34 overall)
• The trade of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals (No. 75 in Competitive Balance Round B)
Other clubs with eight-figure spending pools include the Orioles ($13,821,300), Royals ($13,108,000), Marlins ($13,045,000), White Sox ($11,565,500), Braves ($11,532,200), Rangers ($11,023,100), Padres ($10,758,900), Tigers ($10,402,500) and Rays ($10,333,800).
The defending World Series champion Red Sox have the smallest allotment at $4,788,100 and won’t make their first choice until pick No. 44 because they exceeded last year’s luxury tax threshold by more than $40 million. That could change if free agent Craig Kimbrel signs elsewhere as a free agent -- which would thereby give Boston a pick after the fourth round -- though all indications are that teams will wait to sign Kimbrel until after the Draft. Same goes for the Astros (third-smallest allotment at $5,355,100, first pick at No. 32) in regard to Dallas Keuchel, who is also unlikely to be signed before the Draft.
How is this money allotted?
Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value, with the total for each of a club's selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. If a player taken in the first 10 rounds doesn't sign, his choice's value gets subtracted from his club's pool. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player selected in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment.
Which teams have the most first-round picks?
The D-backs’ four first-round picks are the most of any club. As previously mentioned, Arizona gained two compensation picks after the departures of Corbin and Pollock and pick No. 26 for failing to sign McLain last year, in addition to their pre-existing No. 16 pick after finishing 82-80 last season.
The Braves and Dodgers each own an additional first-round pick after failing to sign their first-rounders a year ago.