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O's officially name Brandon Hyde manager

New skipper spent past six seasons with Cubs, most recently as bench coach
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

For days, the Orioles tamped down reports that their managerial search, still ongoing two weeks into December, had led them to Brandon Hyde. Meanwhile, much of the industry considered Hyde's hiring a foregone conclusion. All the two parties had to do was cross some T's and dot some I's.

That process reached its official completion Friday, when the Orioles announced what was long speculated: That Hyde would become the 20th manager in franchise history. A veteran instructor with more than two decades of baseball experience, Hyde spent the past six seasons with the Cubs, where he served as Joe Maddon's bench coach in 2018. He replaces Buck Showalter, whose nine-year tenure with the O's ended in October.

For days, the Orioles tamped down reports that their managerial search, still ongoing two weeks into December, had led them to Brandon Hyde. Meanwhile, much of the industry considered Hyde's hiring a foregone conclusion. All the two parties had to do was cross some T's and dot some I's.

That process reached its official completion Friday, when the Orioles announced what was long speculated: That Hyde would become the 20th manager in franchise history. A veteran instructor with more than two decades of baseball experience, Hyde spent the past six seasons with the Cubs, where he served as Joe Maddon's bench coach in 2018. He replaces Buck Showalter, whose nine-year tenure with the O's ended in October.

Neither the length of Hyde's contract nor its financial details were immediately available.

"After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball," general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. "Brandon's deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into World Champions, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team."

Tweet from @Orioles: It���s official: Brandon Hyde has been named the 20th manager in #Orioles history. Welcome to #Birdland, Brandon! pic.twitter.com/EJtdSitB6X

That introduction is set for Monday at 12 p.m. ET, via a press conference at Camden Yards. There, Hyde will get a chance to lay out his vision for the challenge he and Elias are now set to embark on together.

They'll do so as a rookie duo. Elias is a month into his first job atop a big league front office, while Hyde arrives in Baltimore with a lone game of big league managing experience. That came back in 2011 -- Hyde, then the bench coach for the Marlins, worked one day as acting manager between the tenures of Edwin Rodriguez and Jack McKeon.

Hyde managed five years in the Marlins system in the late 2000s, and then he spent two seasons on the Marlins' big league coaching staff before landing in Chicago in '13. There, two stints as bench coach bookended a three-year run as first-base coach, the position he held on the Cubs' '16 World Series championship team. Hyde becomes the latest Maddon disciple to land a big league managing gig after Dave Martinez was hired as the Nationals' skipper in '18. Hyde has also worked as a farm director and Minor League field coordinator.

That player-development experience likely resonated with a new front office tasked with rebuilding the Orioles from the ground up. Hyde and Elias inherit a roster coming off a Major League-worst 115 losses in 2018, and a franchise long considered behind in essential areas like analytics and international scouting. These areas will become Elias' main focus now that he's hired a manager, which he repeatedly called his "first and foremost" priority since taking the job on Nov. 16.

In the end, it took Elias a month to sift through a six-man field to tab Hyde, who interviewed for managerial openings with the Angels, Rangers and Blue Jays earlier this offseason. He beat out a trio of other bench coaches in Mike Redmond, Manny Acta and Chip Hale -- all of whom have prior managerial experience -- to claim the gig. The other candidates to interview were D-backs executive Mike Bell and Royals quality-control coach Pedro Grifol.

At 45, Hyde is the youngest O's manager since Johnny Oates, who took over in 1991 at the same age.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles

Who is new O's manager Brandon Hyde?

A closer look at 20th skipper in Baltimore history
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

The Orioles have their new skipper, officially. 

After days of speculation, the Orioles announced Brandon Hyde has been tabbed to replace Buck Showalter and become the 20th manager in club history. The hiring highlights what has been a busy offseason for Hyde, who also interviewed for managerial vacancies in Texas, Toronto, Minnesota and Anaheim this winter. 

The Orioles have their new skipper, officially. 

After days of speculation, the Orioles announced Brandon Hyde has been tabbed to replace Buck Showalter and become the 20th manager in club history. The hiring highlights what has been a busy offseason for Hyde, who also interviewed for managerial vacancies in Texas, Toronto, Minnesota and Anaheim this winter. 

Now, Hyde is headed to Baltimore, a place to which he has little connection. So what should O's fans expect? What follows is a skinny on the man tabbed to lead Baltimore's rebuild from the dugout. 

What's his background?
Hyde, 45, has spent most of his two-decade-plus career in coaching and player development, all in two extensive tenures with the Marlins and Cubs. Long viewed in the industry as a future manager, he's held a variety of positions on Chicago's big league staff since joining the organization in 2013, including two stints as bench coach. He was the first-base coach for the Cubs' '16 World Series title team, then replaced Dave Martinez as Chicago manager Joe Maddon's bench coach last season.

Earlier this decade, Hyde held the same position under manager Jack McKeon for the Marlins, where he previously spent nearly a decade on the player development side. Hyde's ties to both Maddon and McKeon have painted Hyde as a strong communicator, with a willingness to incorporate analytics into in-game decision-making. He interviewed for managerial openings with the Angels, Twins, Rangers and Blue Jays this offseason.

A native of Santa Rosa, Calif., Hyde played collegiately at Cal State Long Beach in the late 1990s. He is married with three children.

Does he have managerial experience?
All of one game's worth, at least at the Major League level. Hyde was in his second season as Marlins bench coach when he was temporarily promoted to acting manager on June 19, 2011, following Edwin Rodriguez's unexpected resignation. The Marlins lost that night, 2-1, to the Rays, the defeat extending their losing streak to 10 games at the time. McKeon was named the club's interim manager the following day.

Hyde's Minor League managerial experience is much more extensive. He managed for five years in the Marlins farm system before joining their big league staff, compiling a 351-342 record and helping groom the prospect likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Andrew Miller and Josh Johnson. Hyde led Double-A Jacksonville to the Southern League title in 2009.

Did he play?
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Long Beach in 1997, Hyde hit .256 with 14 home runs across four seasons in the White Sox system as a catcher/first baseman. He reached Triple-A in 2000 at age 26, playing the final nine games of his Minor League career with Charlotte of the International League. Hyde then played 17 games with the Chico Heat of the independent Western League the following season before getting into coaching.

Does he have any ties to Baltimore?
They are few and far between, consisting almost entirely of relationships with players who have since left the O's. Hyde coached former Orioles Pedro Strop, Jake Arrieta and Koji Uehara with the Cubs. He also coached Miller in Florida and Welington Castillo in Chicago before both eventually played with the O's.

What are people saying about Hyde?
Few have gone on the record, given the unofficial nature of Hyde's reported deal, but Maddon spoke generally this week about the challenge of overseeing a rebuild, which Hyde would have to do in Baltimore. Maddon is something of an expert on the subject, having inherited a 95-loss team ahead of his first season in Tampa Bay. He led the Rays to the World Series two years later and eventually became the winningest manager in franchise history.

"You've got to build relationships from the ground up," Maddon said. "You've got to get to know people first. And they've got to get to know you. When you do that, you start trusting each other. And once you trust each other, I promise you the ideas flow more freely. And then when you're constructively critical of one another you're not pushing back."

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles

O's boost infield, add Martin in Rule 5 Draft

Baltimore acquires infielder Jackson in trade with Phils, nets righty Grover in Triple-A phase
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

LAS VEGAS -- The Orioles arrived at the Winter Meetings with the imperative of increasing their depth and addressing their roster's glaring holes in the center of the diamond. They left having taken the initial steps toward doing both, as they acquired two middle infielders in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.

Baltimore selected shortstop Richie Martin with the No. 1 overall pick, then it acquired infielder Drew Jackson in a trade with Phillies shortly after the draft's completion. Martin, the A's first-round pick in 2015, is a glove-first shortstop who enjoyed a breakout season offensively in '18. He was widely viewed as the top available talent in the annual auction.

LAS VEGAS -- The Orioles arrived at the Winter Meetings with the imperative of increasing their depth and addressing their roster's glaring holes in the center of the diamond. They left having taken the initial steps toward doing both, as they acquired two middle infielders in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.

Baltimore selected shortstop Richie Martin with the No. 1 overall pick, then it acquired infielder Drew Jackson in a trade with Phillies shortly after the draft's completion. Martin, the A's first-round pick in 2015, is a glove-first shortstop who enjoyed a breakout season offensively in '18. He was widely viewed as the top available talent in the annual auction.

Jackson, who was acquired for international singing bonus slot money, was originally plucked from the Dodgers' system earlier in the morning.

"These selections really strike what [general manager] Mike [Elias] has been talking about increasing the overall value in the organization, getting better and getting more depth," O's director of baseball operations Tripp Norton said. "Shortstops are a hole for us right now. … Acquiring Richie and Drew gives us options to look at in Spring Training in regards to our shortstop situation."

Martin and Jackson must remain on the Orioles' active roster all season, or else they will be offered back to their respective clubs for $50,000. Martin's selection came with an initial $100,000 cost for Baltimore.

It's a low-risk gamble for a team not expecting to contend in 2019, and one the Orioles decided was worth taking. Whether it's Martin or incumbent Jonathan Villar who gets the majority of the reps at shortstop is secondary -- the O's are focused squarely on compiling versatile, young players, and they were active during the Winter Meetings in doing so.

The Orioles fly east with three new infielders with the ability to move around, having also added Rio Ruiz on a waiver claim earlier in the week. Martin sprinkled in 21 games at second base last season, and he is seen as athletic enough to play anywhere on the infield.

"With Richie, we saw him as an above-average defender with plus range, with a plus arm at short and someone who can also move over to play second base," Norton said. "He had a resurgence offensively this year at Double-A. We view that as trending up."

The 23-year-old Martin hit .300 with a .368 on-base percentage in his second crack at Double-A Midland, where he also swiped 25 bases and hit 29 doubles and six home runs in 118 games. But that marked the first productive campaign at the plate for Martin, who hit just .235 over his first 915 professional at-bats. Those fairly recent struggles prompted the A's to leave their No. 12 prospect unprotected.

Jackson has played primarily at shortstop and second base during his career, but he has also seen time at third and center field. The Dodgers' No. 19 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Jackson hit 15 home runs with an .804 OPS this year at Double-A Tulsa, where he played mostly second. Norton compared him to former Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty.

Baltimore also added right-hander Taylor Grover from the Reds in the Triple-A phase of the draft, where they lost four players: right-hander Jeffeson Mednia (selected by the Rangers), second baseman Corban Joseph (A's), first baseman Wilson Garcia (Indians) and outfielder Randolph Gassaway (Pirates). Baltimore's 40-man roster is now full.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles

Boras, O's making 'great efforts' to right Davis

Agent working with Orioles GM Elias to craft plan to bust slugger out of slump
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

LAS VEGAS -- Over the years, agent Scott Boras and the Orioles have routinely met during the Winter Meetings, often using the annual gathering to lay the groundwork for deals with some of Boras' most prominent clients. This week, the two sides again convened to discuss one of those clients. But the nature of this year's talks centered on a deal that was struck some time ago.

Members of the Orioles' new regime met with Boras late Tuesday to discuss Chris Davis, whose contract and struggles make his future in Baltimore something of an awkward, open question. General manager and executive vice president Mike Elias plans to have a similar in-person meeting with Davis in the near future. The topic will mirror the one Elias and Boras bounced around: how the former slugger can rebound from his historically poor 2018.

LAS VEGAS -- Over the years, agent Scott Boras and the Orioles have routinely met during the Winter Meetings, often using the annual gathering to lay the groundwork for deals with some of Boras' most prominent clients. This week, the two sides again convened to discuss one of those clients. But the nature of this year's talks centered on a deal that was struck some time ago.

Members of the Orioles' new regime met with Boras late Tuesday to discuss Chris Davis, whose contract and struggles make his future in Baltimore something of an awkward, open question. General manager and executive vice president Mike Elias plans to have a similar in-person meeting with Davis in the near future. The topic will mirror the one Elias and Boras bounced around: how the former slugger can rebound from his historically poor 2018.

"It behooves us, and it behooves Chris and it behooves the Boras Corporation to collaborate and share notes on how we can turn his performance around this year," Elias said. "I feel like we'll all be pulling on the same rope in that regard."

In doing so, Elias echoed the comments Boras made to a mass of reporters assembled in the lobby of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, the super agent saying the two sides share hopes of "advancing this and getting Chris' abilities on the field."

"We are making great efforts and strides to get it back together," Boras said. "We know he can do it. He's done it so many times for many years."

The question, of course, is how. Davis' production sagged by historic proportions in 2018, when he compiled one of the worst seasons ever by an everyday player. Davis' .168 batting average was the lowest ever for a hitter who qualified for the batting title. He struck out an MLB-worst 37 percent of the time and managed a career-low 16 home runs and 50 OPS+ in 128 games.

Davis is owed $92 million through 2022, so that financial commitment roots him on the roster nearly by default.

"I just want to see his productivity get better," Elias said. "He's on the team. He's on the team for a while."

That Elias even had to clarify that fact speaks to Davis' potentially tenuous future with a franchise he was so recently the face of. The slugger was 29 and coming off two American League home run titles in three seasons when Boras and former GM Dan Duquette inked him to a club-record seven-year, $161 million deal in January 2016. But he's hit just .202 with a .695 OPS since, and has been perhaps the most unspared victim of infield shifting, which has exploded in frequency as he's aged.

Meanwhile, the Orioles' window of contention has slammed shut. The organization is in full transition mode and preparing for a long rebuild. Though they hope 2018 marked a low point, it could make sense for the O's to cut ties with Davis if he continues to struggle, and they can stomach the cost. Boras and Elias' meeting only underscores that possibility.

"He's a big part of this lineup. This team is much worse when he's not a dangerous force in the middle of the lineup," Elias said. "He was personally extremely frustrated with the year he had, and it wore on him. I think turning the page to 2019 will be good for him."

Worth noting
• Elias confirmed Wednesday the club expects two other veterans, Mark Trumbo and Richard Bleier, to be fully recovered from injury by the start of 2019. Trumbo underwent right knee surgery on Aug. 29, while Bleier is rehabbing from a torn left lat that limited him to 31 games in 2018.

Adam Jones is in attendance at the Winter Meetings this week, though it is unclear whether the free-agent outfielder is meeting personally with clubs. Teams have reportedly met with his representatives, though, including the Mets. Asked about Jones on Tuesday, Elias did not close the door on a possible reunion in Baltimore. But the two sides, at this juncture, are far from a perfect match.

Jones, 33, is seeking a multi-year deal. And the O's don't expect to explore the free-agent market until late in the offseason, and when they do, they'll be eyeing bargains.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis

Baines, Smith enter Hall with fond O's memories

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

LAS VEGAS -- The tears swelled in Harold Baines' eyes, the often stoic, intimidating slugger overcome with emotion he rarely displayed on the field. He paused as they fell from his face, silencing those gathered at the ballroom press conference staged to celebrate two careers now set for immortality.

They are tears that have come for Baines often in the past 24 hours, since he and Lee Smith were selected as the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Baines cites his family when asked who was proudest of the call he received Sunday night from the Today's Game Era Committee, referencing his wife, Maria Henry, and four children. That's also why he also can't help but reflect on who won't be in attendance to see him inducted to Cooperstown this summer: his late father, Linwood Baines Jr.

LAS VEGAS -- The tears swelled in Harold Baines' eyes, the often stoic, intimidating slugger overcome with emotion he rarely displayed on the field. He paused as they fell from his face, silencing those gathered at the ballroom press conference staged to celebrate two careers now set for immortality.

They are tears that have come for Baines often in the past 24 hours, since he and Lee Smith were selected as the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Baines cites his family when asked who was proudest of the call he received Sunday night from the Today's Game Era Committee, referencing his wife, Maria Henry, and four children. That's also why he also can't help but reflect on who won't be in attendance to see him inducted to Cooperstown this summer: his late father, Linwood Baines Jr.

"He's my hero," Baines said at last, collecting himself. "That's the thing I miss the most."

Video: Baines gets emotional when discussing father's impact

Speaking after the Hall's initial announcement Sunday, Baines called Linwood's presence at his 1980 MLB debut the most important moment of his career. Their relationship was formed long before, as Baines developed into a top prospect in the shadow of Memorial Stadium. A native of Easton, Md., Baines was drafted No.1 overall out of St. Michaels High School in '77. He went on to become one of the premier hitters of his era, an elite designated hitter who made six All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger Award and amassed 2,866 hits and 384 home runs across 22 seasons.

Video: Gammons reacts to Smith, Baines being elected to HOF

Parts of seven of those seasons came in Baltimore, where Baines was perhaps his most productive. He ranks among the club's all-time leaders in batting (.301), on-base percentage (.379) and slugging (.502), and still resides in nearby St. Michaels.

"Baltimore is home for me, so it was a very special moment," Baines said. "Any player playing in his home town would enjoy it. I was there seven years, and I enjoyed every minute."

During the second year of his first stint with the O's, in 1994, Baines' path intersected with Smith's. Then 35, Baines hit .294 with an .840 OPS that year as an anchor of a lineup that also featured Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro and Brady Anderson. Smith saved an American League-best 33 games and finished fifth in Cy Young Award voting before finishing his career with the Angels, Reds and Expos. Though both will likely be inducted into the Hall wearing Chicago hats -- Baines' with a White Sox logo and Smith wearing Cubs colors -- the two are now forever linked, as they also are to the city of Baltimore.

"I wish I could've played there longer," Smith said. "I really enjoyed playing there. It was like every day you would come out of the house so you can get tickets to the game. That's a good feeling as a player. A sellout crowd for the rest of the season, with people trying to get to the ballpark. That's how you know the product the organization was putting on the field that year."

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles

McKenna makes AFL's Top Prospects team

MLB.com @wboor

Braxton Davidson's dramatic walk-off homer in the 10th inning back on Nov. 17th lifted the Peoria Javelinas to back-to-back Arizona Fall League titles and signified the end of the AFL season.

However, here at MLB Pipeline, coverage of the AFL is constant. Following the on-the-field play, we have released our top 10 breakout prospects, the top 25 prospects of the AFL and our All-Arizona Fall League Team.

Braxton Davidson's dramatic walk-off homer in the 10th inning back on Nov. 17th lifted the Peoria Javelinas to back-to-back Arizona Fall League titles and signified the end of the AFL season.

However, here at MLB Pipeline, coverage of the AFL is constant. Following the on-the-field play, we have released our top 10 breakout prospects, the top 25 prospects of the AFL and our All-Arizona Fall League Team.

Of course, there's always room for more accolades and that's just what we have below as the Arizona Fall League announced its 2018 Top Prospects team on Monday morning.

The team, selected by league managers and coaches, recognizes players who distinguished themselves against other top prospects throughout the AFL. Voters were asked to consider not only a player's AFL performance, but also their Major League projectability.

Catchers

Daulton Varsho, D-backs No. 5 prospect: Varsho, who put together four multihit efforts over a five-game span, hit .262 and drove in nine runs in 18 games.

Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers No. 2 prospect (No. 39 on Top 100): Ruiz played in just 13 games, but left a strong impression on the league's managers and coaches. The 20-year-old hit .286 with six RBIs and also drew six walks while striking out just twice.

Video: Top Prospects: Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers

First Base

Tyler Nevin, Rockies No. 11 prospect: Nevin hit a career-best .328 over 100 games during the regular season and carried that momentum with him into Arizona. Nevin got off to a fast start in the AFL, opening play with a 10-game hitting streak. From there, it was more of the same. The 21-year-old was the AFL's only .400 hitter and ran away with the batting title, slashing .426/.535/.593 and also finished third in the league with 20 RBIs.

Video: SRR@PEJ: Nevin recovers nicely to end the 3rd

Evan White, Mariners No. 5 prospectWhite, who collected 14 RBIs over 18 games, hit .257 with a pair of homers in the AFL. White put together a nine-game hitting streak from late October to early November and also stole two bases after stealing just four during the regular season.

Second Base:

Keston Hiura, Brewers No. 1 prospect (No. 30 on the Top 100): Hiura's ability to hit was no secret -- something his 70-grade hit tool clearly indicated. However, just because it was known that Hiura can hit doesn't mean that watching him do so was any less impressive. The Brewers top prospect went to Arizona to work on his defense and while he made strides in that department, it was his offense that led to him MVP honors. Hiura, who hit .323, led the league in hits (31), RBIs (33) and total bases (54). He also hit the only grand slam of the AFL, put together 11 multihit games and turned in two five-RBI performances.

Jahmai Jones, Angels No. 4 prospect: Jones, coming off a season during which he hit just .239 over 123 games, hit .321 with two homers and 11 RBI in 19 AFL contests.

Third Base:

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays No. 1 prospect (No. 1 on Top 100): Guerrero entered the AFL as the most talked-about prospect and certainly didn't disappoint. Guerrero picked up a trio of hits on Opening Day and kept the hits coming as he began the season with a 13-game hitting streak. The 19-year-old also impressed on the league's biggest stage, hitting a 117 mph double in the Fall Stars Game and concluded his stint in Arizona with a .351 batting average.

Video: Chisholm on Vlad Jr.'s Fall League performance

Yu Chang, Indians No. 6 prospect: Chang, who also played in the 2017 Fall League, put together a strong offensive showing. The shortstop hit .337, thanks in large part to a stretch where he strung together eight multihit efforts over 12 games. Chang also finished tied for third in total bases (45) and fourth in hits (29).

Shortstops:

Cole Tucker, Pirates No. 5 prospect: Tucker's .370 average certainly jumps off the page, but the 22-year-old impressed defensively as well. Tucker's 11 multihit games tied for the league lead (Hiura) and his 30 hits left him tied for second. Tucker also impressed off the field, reguarily staying after the game to take photos and sign autographs and was honored with the league's sportsmanship award.

Video: Cole Tucker talks about his Fall League experience

 Lucius Fox, Rays No. 9 prospect: Fox, who hit .326 over 21 games, put together an eight-game hitting streak in mid-October and tied for second in the league with 10 multihit games. Fox also drew 16 walks and stole seven bases.

Outfielders:

Luis Robert, White Sox No. 4 prospect (No. 44 on Top 100): Robert missed a little bit of time with a minor injury during the AFL, but still hit .324 over 18 games. The winner of the week five Player of the Week Award, Robert put up a 14-game hitting streak from Oc. 9 to Nov. 9. The hitting streak was the longest in the AFL since 2014.

Cristian Pache, Braves No. 6 prospect (No. 68 on the Top 100): Pache hit .279 and turned in four straight multihit games in late October, but the 20-year-old may have been even more impressive defensively. Pache showed off his 60-grade arm and his 70-grade speed on numerous occasions in the outfield and also used that speed to steal three bases.

Ryan McKenna, Orioles No. 12 prospect: McKenna hit .315/.410/.457 over 127 games during the regular season, his best season since the Orioles picked him in the fourth-round of the 2015 Draft, and continued the breakout campaign in Arizona, where he hit .344/.474/.590.

Sam Hilliard, Rockies No. 9 prospectHilliard played in just 16 games, but the small sample size didn't keep him from producing. Hilliard had multiple hits in nearly half (seven) of the games he played and finished with two homers and a .328 average.

Daz Cameron, Tigers No. 8 prospectCameron stole 24 bases in the regular season and then swiped nine bases, which tied him for fourth, during the AFL. The son of former Major Leaguer Mike Cameron hit .342 over 20 games.

Nick Heath, Royals: Heath posted a .427 on-base percentage and once he got on base, he made the most of the opportunities. The Royals prospect led the AFL in stolen bases (13) and runs scored (21), while batting .338 over 21 games.

Designated Hitters:

Peter Alonso, Mets No. 2 prospect (No. 58 on the Top 100): Alonso tied for the Minor League home run lead with 36 during the regular season and then tied for the AFL lead with six. In addition to his six homers, Alonso also hit seven doubles and often showed off his power with eye-popping exit velocities.

Video: EAST@WEST: Alonso lays out for impressive diving stop

Will Craig, Pirates No. 16 prospectCraig tied with Alonso and Davidson for the home run title, while also hitting .304 over 21 games.

Starting Pitchers

Nate Pearson, Blue Jays No. 4 prospect (No. 90 on the Top 100): Pearson racked up 23 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings and although his ERA sat at 6.20, he did spin three scoreless outings. What's more, Pearson garnered plenty of attention during the Fall Stars Game when his fastball was clocked at 104 mph.

Video: EAST@WEST: Pearson flashes 101 mph+ with regularity

Erick Leal, Cubs: Leal nearly finished the AFL with a perfect 0.00 ERA, but gave up seven runs (six earned) in his final start. The right-hander began the AFL with a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak and finished 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA over six starts.

Relief Pitchers:

Melvin Adon, Giants No. 19 prospect: Adon, a hard-throwing right-hander, was consistently missing bats out in Arizona. Adon notched 21 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings and limited opponents to a .163 batting average against. He was particuarily tough on right-handers as they managed to hit just .091 against him.

Justin Lawrence, Rockies No. 16 prospect: Lawrence tied for the AFL lead with three saves and used a nasty fastball-slider combo to strike out 13 batters in 10 2/3 innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Inbox: What new faces will join Orioles?

Beat reporter Joe Trezza answers Baltimore fans' questions
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

Hello, Birdland! This is Joe Trezza, your new Orioles beat writer for MLB.com.

If you haven't heard, I'll be on the beat going forward in place of Brittany Ghiroli, who did a great job covering the team over the past nine seasons. Thank you for all who reached out and were so welcoming on social media this past week. I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible in the months to come, whether it's online, at FanFest, at the ballpark, wherever.

Hello, Birdland! This is Joe Trezza, your new Orioles beat writer for MLB.com.

If you haven't heard, I'll be on the beat going forward in place of Brittany Ghiroli, who did a great job covering the team over the past nine seasons. Thank you for all who reached out and were so welcoming on social media this past week. I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible in the months to come, whether it's online, at FanFest, at the ballpark, wherever.

You fans are the reason the O's, my job and this Inbox even exist, and your reputation precedes you as some of the best fans in baseball. My goal is to be a constant resource for you, and to keep Orioles.com as your premier place for all things bird-related. There will be lots of new faces in Baltimore this year, and I'm terribly excited to be one of them.

Submit a question to the Inbox

Now, on to this transition-themed Inbox, timed with next week's Winter Meetings in mind.

What's the buzz about the hiring of our new manager? Any names?
-- Chuck McElhose, @Rev17CS

Earlier this week, I outlined what we know so far about the Orioles' managerial search, which they're keeping as secret as possible. The O's are reportedly planning to interview at least six candidates, with varying levels of experience and a range of backgrounds.

Nats bench coach Chip Hale and Royals catching/quality control coach Pedro Grifol were expected to get first-round interviews this week, according to sources, while reports have also linked D-backs executive Mike Bell and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde to the opening. Given the search's early stages, there is an expectation around the club that the team's brass will likely land in Las Vegas on Sunday without a manager yet in place.

The front-runner is also unclear at this point. Though the Orioles are rumored to prefer a candidate with some big league managing experience, that's not considered a deal breaker in their decision-making. It's important to remember where new GM Mike Elias and his top lieutenant Sig Mejdal come from: both were groomed in the ultra-progressive Astros front office, which did daring things like try Mejdal, a top data analyst, in a Minor League dugout role last season. I wouldn't be surprised to see them ultimately take a risk here, maybe on a young, analytically-minded skipper they believe can develop with the club's on-field talent, like the Rays did with Kevin Cash in 2015.

Video: Elias on past mistakes making him a better O's GM

What players could the O's be targeting with the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft?
-- Robbie, @robbiejames23

We'll have a more comprehensive rundown of the club's possible targets closer to the Rule 5 Draft, which will close out the Winter Meetings on Dec. 13. But expect the Orioles to be active.

There is simply little reason for them not to use their No. 1 Rule 5 Draft pick at this point. Add in the fact that the number of high-upside prospects typically exceeds the number that can be protected each year, it's likely the O's could see value in committing to a few for 2019.

Video: Mike Elias discusses coaching staff, Rule 5 Draft

I'm just speculating here, but keep an eye out for Twins lefty Tyler Jay (Minnesota's No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline), Astros righty Riley Ferrell (No. 17 on Houston's list) and Cardinals righty Junior Fernandez (St. Louis' No. 14 prospect). On the position player side, Rays second baseman Kean Wong and Brewers first baseman Jake Gatewood are available and considered big league ready.

What are the chances Chris Davis returns to form?
-- Danny Kamen, @Chevrolet_Z28

Depends on your definition of "returns to form." Are you hoping Davis revives into the 4.2 Wins Above Replacement player he was, on average, from 2013-16? Or the American League MVP Award candidate he was at his '13 peak? Because those days are likely gone.

That said, I do think it's inevitable Davis will improve on his 2018 season, when there was clearly something systemically wrong with the former slugger. He didn't only become unplayable offensively, his speed (per Statcast™) and defensive metrics regressed considerably. Sometimes, these types of statistical collapses come with a psychological component, and last season clearly weighed on Davis mentally. Though his best days are behind him, '19 should provide something of a fresh start. New rules limiting defensive shifts -- which the league is rumored to be considering -- would help, too.

Video: Chris Davis on his preparation for 2019 season

Welcome to the Charm City! Is it possible that for the right price the O's would consider re-signing Jonathan Schoop?
-- Frank Hart, @FrankAH3

Thanks, Frank! That "right price" part is the important. The Orioles were unwilling to give Tim Beckham a raise through arbitration, and Schoop would also have likely earned a raise on his $8.5 million salary. Schoop's leverage is gone now after being non-tendered, so it's possible he could come back to Baltimore on a short-term deal with the hopes of reclaiming some earning power.

The second-base market is flooded, and if they feel comfortable moving Jonathan Villar to short, I expect the O's to target a veteran-type on the lower end of it. That could mean eyeing Schoop, Ian Kinsler, Logan Forsythe or someone else in that mold.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop

Each team's best 1st-rounder of the past decade

MLB.com

The release of the 2019 Draft Top 50 list had the MLB Pipeline staff thinking about Drafts in years past. Teams always want to get that first pick right, and there have been some real home runs hit in the first round.

Who were the best first-round picks for each team over the last decade? MLB Pipeline dug through the first rounds of the last 10 years (2009-18) and picked the top first-rounder for each organization. Only those chosen in what was the official first round each year were considered -- no supplemental picks were allowed. The 2014 Draft has been the most fruitful, with six players from that first round making the list. The Drafts from 2012 and 2009 are right behind with five selections, with the latter boasting the player who has to be the single best first-round selection over the last 10 years.

The release of the 2019 Draft Top 50 list had the MLB Pipeline staff thinking about Drafts in years past. Teams always want to get that first pick right, and there have been some real home runs hit in the first round.

Who were the best first-round picks for each team over the last decade? MLB Pipeline dug through the first rounds of the last 10 years (2009-18) and picked the top first-rounder for each organization. Only those chosen in what was the official first round each year were considered -- no supplemental picks were allowed. The 2014 Draft has been the most fruitful, with six players from that first round making the list. The Drafts from 2012 and 2009 are right behind with five selections, with the latter boasting the player who has to be the single best first-round selection over the last 10 years.

AL East

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays, 2012 (No. 22 overall)
Stroman's profile scared away many teams in the 2012 Draft, but the Duke product has done his part to overcome the stigma associated with being an undersized right-hander. Though he regressed in 2018, while dealing with right shoulder fatigue and, later, a blister issue, Stroman posted back-to-back 200-inning seasons (2016-17) and has been worth 10.6 WAR over five seasons with the Blue Jays.

Manny Machado, SS, Orioles, 2010 (No. 3 overall)
Machado made the jump straight from Double-A to the Majors as a 19-year-old in late 2012, and quickly became a star. His 33.8 WAR is the highest among 2010 first-round position players, second only to Chris Sale, and after helping guide Baltimore to two postseason appearances as a four-time All-Star, Machado netted the organization five Top 30 prospects when it dealt him to the Dodgers this past July.

Ryne Stanek, RHP, Rays, 2013 (No. 29 overall)
Drafting in the first round has long been a problem for the typically savvy Rays, and even their selection of Stanek isn't a hands-down win for the organization, considering he was viewed as a starter (before needing hip surgery) out of the Draft. That said, the right-hander emerged as a legitimate late-inning weapon (and, at times, an "opener") for the Rays in 2018, when he compiled a 2.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings over 66 1/3 innings (59 appearances).

Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox, 2015 (No. 7 overall)
Benintendi went from unheralded Arkansas freshman to consensus College Baseball Player of the Year as a sophomore, soaring up Draft boards in the process. The Red Sox had him No. 2 on theirs (behind Dansby Swanson), which he justified by becoming a regular in their 2018 World Series championship lineup just 13 months after signing.

Video: 2015 Draft: Red Sox draft OF Andrew Benintendi No. 7

Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, 2013 (No. 32 overall)
Judge was the second of three Yankees first-rounders in 2013, sandwiched between Eric Jagielo (No. 26) and Ian Clarkin (No. 33), and lasting that long because there were questions about how well his massive raw power would translate into production. After only hitting 18 homers in three years at Fresno State and 56 in three seasons in the Minors, he exploded for a rookie-record 52 in 2017.

AL Central

Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, 2011 (No. 8 overall)
Cleveland landed perhaps the best player in a historically good first-round class, as Lindor has become one of the faces of game while totaling 23.9 WAR -- second to Mookie Betts (35.2) among 2011 draftees -- and leading the Indians to an American League title (2016) since his debut in '15, when he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. Entering his age-25 season, he's garnered All-Star honors and finished Top 10 in MVP voting in each of the last three years.

Aaron Crow, RHP, Royals, 2009 (No. 12 overall)
The Royals haven't fared well in the first round during the last decade, though Crow made the All-Star Game as a rookie in 2011, and was an effective reliever for four seasons until he blew out his elbow shortly after a trade to the Marlins. Cristian Colon (No. 4 overall, 2010) didn't have as much sustained success but delivered the championship-winning hit in the 2015 World Series.

Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers, 2018 (No. 1 overall)
Perhaps this one is more aspirational because he's thrown only 13 2/3 career innings since being the top pick in last June's Draft, but Mize should be able to use his three plus pitches and his plus control to move quickly through the Tigers' system. Look for him in Detroit sooner rather than later.

Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins, 2016 (No. 16 overall)
The rules for this story don't allow for a supplemental first-round pick to be chosen, otherwise Jose Berrios might be the guy. But after missing the 2017 season, Kirilloff erupted in '18, his first real full season, and is looking like one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball.

Chris Sale, LHP, White Sox, 2010 (No. 13 overall)
After 2010's Big Three of Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Machado, Sale should have been the next player taken. But teams psyched themselves out over worries about his low arm slot and desire for a big league contract (typical for top college arms at the time), allowing the White Sox to steal him at No. 13. He was saving games for Chicago by September and has been an All-Star in each of his seven seasons as a starter.

Video: WS2018 Gm1: Sale K's Dozier to start off World Series

AL West

Matt Chapman, 3B, A's, 2014 (No. 25 overall)
Chapman emerged as the A's next homegrown star in his first fully healthy season, as he ranked third in WAR (8.2) among all position players, finished seventh in AL MVP voting and took home the revered Platinum Glove award as baseball's best defensive player. His 11.7 WAR in 229 career games is tops among positional players from his Draft class -- ahead of even Trea Turner (10.4), who's played 360 games.

Mike Trout, OF, Angels, 2009 (No. 25 overall)
The teams that say they had Trout No. 2 on their board are sort of like the million people who say they were present for The Shot Heard Round the World. Their loss was the Angels' gain, obviously, as he's turned into one of the game's top stars, with seven All-Star appearances and two MVP Awards.

Carlos Correa, SS, Astros, 2012 (No. 1 overall)
George Springer (No. 11, 2011) and Alex Bregman (No. 2, 2015) can also make a case, but our choice is Correa. A series of impressive pre-Draft workouts gave him late helium and made him the first Puerto Rican taken with the top choice. He won AL Rookie of the Year Award honors in '15, then received All-Star recognition and won a World Series two year later.

Video: ALCS Gm1: Correa knocks go-ahead single in 6th

Mike Zunino, C, Mariners, 2012 (No. 3 overall)
Zunino struggled for several years after being rushed to the Major Leagues and hit .207 over 2,000 plate appearances with Seattle. His combination of right-handed power and strong defense behind the plate, however, became increasingly valuable, especially with the quality of the position on the decline across the Majors.

Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers, 2012 (No. 29 overall)
The Rangers' 13 first-round picks from the last decade have produced only three big leaguers and a combined -0.4 WAR so far. An exceptional athlete who has yet to hit in the Majors, Brinson went to the Brewers in a deal for Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy in July 2016, and to the Marlins in a trade for Christian Yelich last January.

NL East

Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves, 2017 (No. 5 overall)
The Braves hoped Wright would move quickly when they took him with their first pick in the 2017 Draft out of Vanderbilt. Starting his first full season in Double-A was a good sign and reaching Atlanta before the year was over was ahead of schedule, even for a fast-tracker.

Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins, 2010 (No. 23 overall)
One of the 2010 Draft's better hitters as a California prep, Yelich reached the Majors in mid-2013 and received a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension two years later. He hit .290/.369/.432 (18.6 WAR) over 643 games with Miami, and then helped the organization restock its farm system with four prospects, including Brinson and Monte Harrison, when they dealt him to Milwaukee last offseason. In his first year with the Brewers, Yelich won the batting title (.326) and powered the club to the National League Championship Series en route to MVP honors.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Yelich crushes solo homer to right-center

Michael Conforto, OF, Mets, 2014 (No. 10 overall)
It took the Oregon State product only a year to get to the big leagues, and while his performance has been a little up and down, he's hit 56 homers the last two years and has an All-Star nod already on his resume. Still only 25, he has already amassed nearly 1,400 Major League at-bats.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals, 2010 (No. 1 overall)
The Nationals' selection of Harper with the first pick in the 2010 Draft forever changed the course of the franchise, as it gave the club a player with near-immediate impact potential as well as generational-star upside worthy of building around. Over seven seasons with the Nats, Harper -- a six-time All-Star and the 2015 NL MVP -- hit .279/.388/.512 with 184 homers in 927 games, good for a 27.4 WAR.

Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies, 2014 (No. 7 overall)
Nola took his combination of solid stuff and outstanding command and made a beeline to Philadelphia, joining the rotation in just over a year following his selection. And the 25-year-old is just getting going, making his first All-Star team and finishing third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018.

NL Central

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers, 2017 (No. 9 overall)
The Brewers' track record with first-round picks isn't great, but Hiura could soon help reverse that trend. After leading all Division I hitters in average (.442) as a UC Irvine junior, Hiura raked his way up to Double-A this past season and then took home MVP honors in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He still needs some more time in the Minors, but it shouldn't be long before Hiura is driving in runs from the middle of Milwaukee's order.

Jack Flaherty, RHP, 2014 (No. 34 overall)
The Cardinals have had some solid back-half-of-the-first-round selections, like Michael Wacha and Kolten Wong, but Flaherty made it to the big leagues in 2017, then finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in '18. Flaherty will be only 23 in 2019, so the best may be yet to come.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs, 2013 (No. 2 overall)
Bryant had a stunning junior season at San Diego, swatting 31 homers to not only lead NCAA Division I but also topping 223 of the 296 teams at that level. He raced to the big leagues, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2015 and encoring with an NL MVP Award and World Series championship the next season.

Video: STL@CHC: Bryant belts a towering solo homer to center

Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates, 2011 (No. 1 overall)
Cole's 17.4 WAR is more than double any other Pirates' first-rounder in the last decade. Perhaps his tenure with Pittsburgh was up and down, but he made the All-Star team, finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting and made three postseason starts in 2015. He's also topped 200 innings in three of the last four years (albeit the last one coming for the Astros).

Mike Leake, RHP, Reds, 2009 (No. 8 overall)
Leake spent exactly zero days in the Minor Leagues between getting drafted and his Major League debut, breaking with the Reds' rotation on Opening Day in 2010. He's compiled more WAR than any Reds first-rounder in the last 10 years (15.6) and his trade to the Giants in 2015 netted them Adam Duvall (two years of 30-plus homers) and Keury Mella, who should contribute to the pitching staff in '19.

NL West

A.J. Pollock, OF, D-backs, 2009 (No. 17 overall)
When Pollock was coming out of Notre Dame, he was a solid college performer, but one who didn't have a plus tool, so some thought he might end up a bit of a tweener. There have been some injuries, but there's also been an All-Star appearance and a Gold Glove as an everyday center fielder, one who is currently coveted on the free-agent market.

Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, 2012 (No. 18 overall)
After taking pitchers with their previous six first-round choices -- landing Clayton Kershaw and five non-impact big leaguers -- the Dodgers changed course and went for Seager, who was one of the better all-around high school bats but also came with some signability concerns in the first Draft with bonus-pool rules. He signed for $2.35 million ($400,000 above the assigned value at No. 18) and proved well worth it, earning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and All-Star recognition in each of his two full big league seasons.

Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants, 2009 (No. 6 overall)
He wasn't a cornerstone of World Series championships like Giants 2006-08 first-rounders Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, but the guy who followed them has been a quality big league starter when healthy. Wheeler didn't last long with San Francisco, however, going to the Mets in a 2011 trade for Carlos Beltran.

Trea Turner, SS, Padres, 2014 (No. 13 overall)
Turner played the first half of his pro debut on borrowed time, as he'd already been dealt to the Nationals as part of a three-team trade with Tampa Bay (that netted the Padres Wil Myers) by the time the 2015 season began. He's emerged as one of the more impactful young players with the Nats.

Video: Draft 2014: Padres draft SS Trea Turner No. 13

Kyle Freeland, LHP, Rockies, 2014 (No. 8 overall)
The Rockies hoped for Kyle Schwarber or Nola, but the Cubs and Phillies foiled those plans and led them to Freeland, whose elbow worried some clubs because he had arthroscopic surgery as a Denver high schooler. He had bone chips removed from his elbow in 2015 but has been otherwise healthy, winning 11 games as a rookie in '17 and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting last season.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Mock draft: Who will the O's take first?

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

With MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects list out, all 30 teams should be ready to just have the Draft now, no?

OK, so maybe that's a tad premature, as most scouting departments will happily take the spring to continue to evaluate the top amateur talent available for the 2019 Draft. Teams won't truly try to line up their boards until much closer to June, but there is a good sense of who would be at the top if the Draft were today.

With MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects list out, all 30 teams should be ready to just have the Draft now, no?

OK, so maybe that's a tad premature, as most scouting departments will happily take the spring to continue to evaluate the top amateur talent available for the 2019 Draft. Teams won't truly try to line up their boards until much closer to June, but there is a good sense of who would be at the top if the Draft were today.

:: 2019 Draft coverage ::

Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, after a huge junior season and a very strong stint with USA Baseball, has separated himself at the very top, while high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn aren't too far behind. Using that pairing to kick things off, here is a quick look at what the top 10 might look like. There are just two pitchers and eight hitters on the list, a reflection of what this class looks like at present.

One huge wild card not in this top 10 mock is Carter Stewart, the Braves' first-round pick from a year ago. If Stewart is healthy and goes on to East Florida State Junior College, as many expect, there's a good chance he'll show up in the top 10, if not the top five, of mock drafts this spring.

1. Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman is the complete package, with the ability to hit for average and power, along with outstanding defensive tools behind the plate. The last time the Orioles took a college catcher in the first round (Matt Wieters), it worked out pretty well.

Video: Draft Report: Adley Rutschman, college catcher

2. Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
The son of the former big league pitcher, Witt Jr. has a fantastic combination of tools and makeup. He's fresh off winning MVP honors at the Pan American Championship in Panama, helping USA Baseball's 18 and Under squad bring home a gold medal.

3. White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Vaughn won the Golden Spikes Award as a sophomore and might be the best all-around hitter in the class with an advanced approach, the ability to hit for average and plenty of in-game power. The White Sox have taken college bats in the first round in each of the last three drafts and haven't taken a high school player first since 2012.

Video: Draft Report: Andrew Vaughn, college first baseman

4. Marlins: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
The Marlins have been much more high school heavy at the top, taking a prepster No. 1 five years running. But the chance to add an advanced bat with pop like Jung's could be too difficult to pass up as he could quickly advance to play the hot corner in Miami.

5. Tigers: Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
It's a weak crop of pitching, particularly among the college ranks, but Stinson is poised to be the top college arm (or any arm in this scenario) selected with his plus fastball and slider. The Tigers have taken a pitcher with their first selection four years in a row and went the college route last June and in 2017.

6. Padres: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Roswell, Ga.)
One of the toolsiest players in the Draft, Abrams has tremendous speed and that, along with his plus arm, give him the chance to stick at shortstop. Combine that with some serious offensive upside, there's no question he belongs in top 10 conversations.

Video: Draft Report: C.J. Abrams, high school shortstop

7. Reds: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Given his outstanding defensive skills and power potential, a strong spring could move Langeliers up higher than this as the 1A to Rutschman's 1 on the college catching list. The Reds have taken a college bat in the first round in four of the six previous drafts.

8. Rangers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.)
An argument can be made that Greene is the best pure hitter in the Draft class, high school or college. He can flat out rake with a smooth left-handed swing, one that will produce plenty of power in the future. That corner outfield profile is sure to come off the board early.

9. Braves: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
This is a compensation pick for the Braves not signing last year's first-rounder Carter Stewart. But don't expect that to mean Atlanta will be conservative here. The Braves don't shy away from high school pitching and Malone's combination of arm strength and velocity will be very intriguing.

Video: Draft Report: Brennan Malone, high school pitcher

10. Giants: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Seattle, Wash.)
Carroll made as big a leap as anyone with his performances across several summer showcase events. He's one of the faster guys in the Draft, can really hit and has shown he has more pop than you'd think at first glance.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

After disappointing year, Davis looking forward

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

After the front office positions are filled, a manager is hired and his coaching staff solidified, only then will new Orioles general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias' focus shift entirely to his roster.

There have already been changes in this arena, with Adam Jones a free agent, Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph non-tendered and several glaring holes at positions of need. And there will be more. Turnover continues to be the biggest theme in Baltimore this offseason, from the top down.

After the front office positions are filled, a manager is hired and his coaching staff solidified, only then will new Orioles general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias' focus shift entirely to his roster.

There have already been changes in this arena, with Adam Jones a free agent, Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph non-tendered and several glaring holes at positions of need. And there will be more. Turnover continues to be the biggest theme in Baltimore this offseason, from the top down.

The biggest question going forward remains whether or not that turnover will include Chris Davis. At the current moment, Davis appears likely to return despite a disappointing 2018, when he put together one of the worst offensive seasons in Major League history. There are simply few options but to hope for a bounce-back season from Davis, who is owed $92 million through 2022.

Davis himself is adopting a similar mind-set.

"I think a lot of it resetting and starting over," Davis said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio. "For me, it's kind of stepping back, taking a deep breath and realizing there is a little bit different landscape there."

The first baseman remains one of a handful of holdovers from the group that helped Baltimore to playoff appearances from 2015-16. He was one of the few veterans the club was unable to unload at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, given his production and financial attachments.

"Not necessarily from scratch, but a lot of things have changed. We traded away a large portion of our team, we're in a rebuilding phase now and it looks a little different," Davis said. "I guess now I'm the old man in the clubhouse, which is kind of weird, but it's going to be a lot of fun. I think we're going to surprise some people these next couple of years, and hopefully we can turn it around pretty quick."

Elias struck a similar tone when asked about Davis at his introductory press conference, saying, "This lineup is at its best with a productive Chris Davis, a dangerous Davis in the middle of the lineup. I want to see that happen."

But Elias has made little secret of his plans for a thorough rebuild, calling "it a process that doesn't have shortcuts." That could hint at a tough decision looming at some point regarding Davis, who finished 2018 with a .168/.243/.296 line across 522 plate appearances. His batting average was the lowest in baseball history for a player with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. He is set to earn $23 million of the Orioles' $60 million on the books for 2019 -- nearly 40 percent of their current projected Opening Day payroll.

Worth noting

The braille jerseys worn by the Orioles during last season's National Federation of the Blind Night raised more than $16,000 for braille literacy and education programs, the club announced Tuesday. The Orioles became the first team in American professional sports history to incorporate braille lettering into their uniforms Sept. 18.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis

These are the top 50 prospects for the '19 Draft

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

The crop of talent for the 2019 Draft appears to be one of the most imbalanced in recent memory. Quality position prospects abound all over the diamond, while question marks surround the best pitchers available.

MLB Pipeline's new Draft Top 50 Prospects list reflects this dichotomy, starting with six straight hitters at the top. A lot will change before the Orioles exercise the No. 1 overall pick on June 3, but only once has a Draft started with as many as five consecutive position players. Justin Upton (D-backs), Alex Gordon (Royals), Jeff Clement (Mariners), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Ryan Braun (Brewers) were the first five selections in the 2005 Draft, which coincidentally is considered the strongest so far this millennium.

The crop of talent for the 2019 Draft appears to be one of the most imbalanced in recent memory. Quality position prospects abound all over the diamond, while question marks surround the best pitchers available.

MLB Pipeline's new Draft Top 50 Prospects list reflects this dichotomy, starting with six straight hitters at the top. A lot will change before the Orioles exercise the No. 1 overall pick on June 3, but only once has a Draft started with as many as five consecutive position players. Justin Upton (D-backs), Alex Gordon (Royals), Jeff Clement (Mariners), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Ryan Braun (Brewers) were the first five selections in the 2005 Draft, which coincidentally is considered the strongest so far this millennium.

2019 Draft order | All-time Draft picks

Top Draft Prospects

"If you're in the hunt for pitching up top, this might not be the best year for it, especially with the college arms," an American League scouting director said. "It's definitely a position-player Draft from what I've seen over the summer. It's better than what it's been the last couple of years. It's almost a little scary how good the hitters are compared to the pitchers."

The consensus among clubs is that the top tier of 2019 prospects includes as few as one and no more than three position players: Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and California first baseman Andrew Vaughn. They're also the three most highly decorated prospects in the '19 class.

Rutschman won Most Outstanding Player honors at the College World Series, where he helped the Beavers capture a national title to cap a breakout sophomore season in which he batted .408/.505/.628 and set school records with 102 hits and 83 RBIs. He's a switch-hitting catcher who's just starting to harness what could be plus power, and he's also a quality receiver with a strong arm.

Video: Adley Rutschman on being top-ranked Draft prospect

The son of Bobby Witt, the No. 3 overall pick in 1985 en route to a 16-year pitching career in the big leagues, Witt Jr. won the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game and also Most Valuable Player Award honors at the Under Armour All-America Game, the States Play Series and the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Panama. He's a potential five-tool shortstop who comes with some mild hittability concerns, but also plus raw power, speed, arm strength and defense.

"In 1999, we had the two Joshes [Hamilton and Beckett] and then everybody else," a National League scouting official said. "It could be a similar situation this year with Rutschman and Witt. Bobby Witt's kid is certainly one of the most exciting kids I've seen in a long time. You have to go back a long way to see a shortstop with those tools."

Video: Draft Report: Bobby Witt Jr., high school shortstop

Some teams would group Vaughn, the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner, with Rutschman and Witt. He's the best offensive player available, a .402/.531/.819 hitter as a sophomore who draws raves for his ability to barrel balls, hit for power and control the strike zone.

There's plenty of depth beyond that trio. On the college side, there's another catcher ticketed for the top of the draft in Baylor's Shea Langeliers, a five-tool sleeper in Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner and potential impact bats such as Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday and North Carolina first baseman Michael Busch. Scouts usually bemoan the lack of college shortstops, but this year, there are five who could factor into the first round (even if they might not all stay at the position): UNLV's Bryson Stott, Texas A&M's Braden Shewmake, Auburn's Will Holland, N.C. State's Will Wilson and Clemson's Logan Davidson.

Along with Witt, shortstop C.J. Abrams (Blessed Trinity Catholic High, Roswell, Ga.) and outfielders Jerrion Ealy (Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.) and Maurice Hampton (University High, Memphis, Tenn.) headline an impressive group of premium high school athletes. Ealy and Hampton are also four-star football recruits, with the former a running back committed to Mississippi and the latter a cornerback earmarked for Louisiana State. Outfielder Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, Seattle) is one of the best pure hitters in the Draft, third baseman Rece Hinds (IMG Academy) may have the most raw power available and third basemen Brett Baty (Lake Travis High, Austin, Texas) and Tyler Callihan (Providence School, Jacksonville, Fla.) combine the ability to hit for average and power.

"You'll see position players, and especially the college bats, move up into the top half of the first round," an NL scouting director said. "You could see 18-20 bats in the first round, because it's just not a great class of pitching."

Video: Draft Report: Carter Stewart, college pitcher

MLB Pipeline's top-rated pitcher is right-hander Carter Stewart, who went No. 8 overall to the Braves in the 2018 Draft but didn't sign after a disagreement over the severity of a wrist injury that hampered him at the end of his senior season at Eau Gallie High (Melbourne, Fla.). Stewart, who had the best curveball in the '18 class as well as a fastball that reached 98 mph, is expected to enroll at Eastern Florida State Junior College for the spring semester.

There's also uncertainty with the top arms at four-year colleges, all of whom are left-handers: Duke's Graeme Stinson, Kentucky's Zack Thompson and Texas Christian's Nick Lodolo. Stinson has to prove he can succeed and hold up as a starter after relieving for most of his college career, and Thompson missed two months last spring with an elbow injury that didn't require surgery. Lodolo was the highest unsigned pick in the 2016 Draft (No. 41 overall, Pirates) but has been more respectable than dominant with the Horned Frogs.

Clubs consider high school pitching to the be the riskiest Draft demographic, and prep righties often seem to last longer than they should. Brennan Malone (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.), Daniel Espino (Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.) and Matthew Allan (Seminole, Fla., High) are the premier power arms among prepsters. Former All-Star Al Leiter's son, Jack (Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J.), is the most polished high school hurler, while two-way star Spencer Jones (La Costa Canyon High, Carlsbad, Calif.) is the best left-hander.

"This is a good Draft. I like it," a second NL scouting official said. "There's not a lot of pitching at the top, but there are a lot of bats to go get."

Video: Callis breaks down Jack Leiter's draft stock

BREAKDOWN

College: 27
HS: 22
JC: 1

RHP: 12
OF: 10
SS: 10
LHP: 6
3B: 5
1B: 4
C: 2
2B: 1

Top tools

All players, as always, are given grades on the 20-to-80 scouting scale for all tools or pitches. These are future grades, a reflection of what the scouting industry thinks each of these amateur players can become in the future. Here are the top grades for each tool and pitch.

Position players
Hit: 60 -- Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State; Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California; Riley Greene, Hagerty (Fla.) HS; Corbin Carroll, Lakeside (Wash.) HS
Power: 60 -- Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California; Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Run: 75 -- CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic (Ga.) HS; Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (Miss.)
Arm: 70 -- Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Field: 60 -- Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State; Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage (Texas) HS; Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor; Mike Toglia, 1B/OF, UCLA; Nasim Nunez, SS, Collins Hill (Ga.) HS

Pitchers
Fastball: 70 -- Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Fla.); Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy; Ryne Nelson, RHP, Oregon
Curveball: 65 -- Carter Stewart, RHP, None
Slider: 65 -- Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
Changeup: 55 -- Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
Control: 55 -- Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton (N.J.) HS

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

O's cut ties with Beckham, Joseph

Duo not tendered contacts, marking end to time with Baltimore
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

A week of shakeup within the Orioles' evolving front office ended with more turnover, this time of the roster variety. Baltimore did not tender contracts to Tim Beckham nor Caleb Joseph at Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline, instead deciding to part ways with a pair of players who played big roles at key positions in 2018.

The moves marked the first consequential on-field personnel decision made by Mike Elias, who became the club's new general manager and senior vice president on Nov. 16. In choosing not to retain Beckham, the Orioles opted to embark on their rebuild without the player who finished 2018 as their starting shortstop. Non-tendering Joseph ends the catcher's decade-plus run in the organization. Both are now free agents.

A week of shakeup within the Orioles' evolving front office ended with more turnover, this time of the roster variety. Baltimore did not tender contracts to Tim Beckham nor Caleb Joseph at Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline, instead deciding to part ways with a pair of players who played big roles at key positions in 2018.

The moves marked the first consequential on-field personnel decision made by Mike Elias, who became the club's new general manager and senior vice president on Nov. 16. In choosing not to retain Beckham, the Orioles opted to embark on their rebuild without the player who finished 2018 as their starting shortstop. Non-tendering Joseph ends the catcher's decade-plus run in the organization. Both are now free agents.

In what were essentially formalities, the club did tender contracts to three arbitration eligible players in Dylan Bundy, Jonathan Villar and Mychal Givens.

Up for a salary increase despite regressing in 2018, Beckham saw his star dim significantly over his first full season in Baltimore. He hit .179 over his first 23 games, then dragged that average into late June after missing two months due to a core injury. Beckham ended up hitting .230/.287/.374 with 10 home runs in 96 games, a far cry from the .306/.348/.523 line (with 10 home runs) he put up in 50 games after being acquired from Tampa Bay in 2017. Beckham rated as a below-average defender at both third base and shortstop, the position he returned to after Manny Machado was traded in July.

Video: BAL@NYY: Beckham smacks a solo homer to left-center

The former No.1 overall pick was due a raise on the $3.5 million he made in 2018. The Orioles are no longer on the hook for that money, though they remain open to a reunion with Beckham at a lower price. For now, though, his departure leaves their roster with a significant hole. Baltimore is left with three middle infielders on its active roster: Villar, who can play second and short, and Steve Wilkerson and Breyvic Valera. Without Beckham in the fold, Villar likely slides over to short. But that opens second base, without an obvious answer. Wilkerson and Valera are Minor League journeymen with 53 combined games of big league experience between them.

Perhaps a solution would be to reunite with former second base fixture Jonathan Schoop, who was non-tendered by the Brewers on Friday. Schoop was projected to eclipse $10 million in arbitration, per MLBTradeRumors.com, but could come at a discount now given his down 2018 season and ties to Baltimore.

While their decision on Beckham was somewhat expected, club officials were still debating what to do with Joseph less than a half-hour prior to Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline. Originally a seventh-round pick by the Orioles out of Lipscomb University in 2008, Joseph spent six seasons in the Minors before making is MLB debut in 2014 at age 28. The ostensible backup to Matt Wieters, Joseph actually made more starts (220) behind the plate than the oft-injured Wieters (194) between 2014-16. Joseph essentially split time with Welington Castillo in 2017, and led the Orioles in games caught (81) last season.

Video: CWS@BAL: Joseph throws out Engel at second in the 3rd

But Joseph's offensive shortcomings also caught up to him in 2018. Always a defense-first player, Joseph hit .182 over the season's first six weeks, after which the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. He returned a month later and finished the year with a .219/.254/.321 line, three home runs and 17 RBIs in 280 plate appearances.

Joseph hit .224/.271/.353 with 31 home runs and 122 RBIs in five seasons with the Orioles, emerging as a clubhouse leader. He was due for a slight raise on his $1.25 million salary. The Orioles catching depth chart now consists of Austin Wynns and former prospect Chance Sisco, who stalled in limited action at the big league level last season.

Bundy and Givens were both arbitration eligible for the first time, and they'll return as the club's ostensible No. 1 starter and closer, respectively. This is the second winter of arbitration eligibility for Villar, whose $2.55 million 2018 salary was the highest of the group.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Baltimore Orioles, Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph