Major League Baseball’s 2019 first-year player draft kicked off on Monday night with the Baltimore Orioles selecting Oregon State catcher . The next pick was another hitter. Then another. And so on until the Cincinnati Reds selected TCU left-hander Nick Lodolo with the seventh pick.
The Lodolo selection did more than break up the run on bats — it made history. This year marked the first time in MLB Draft history a pitcher had not been among the first six selections.
As noted above, the honor had belonged to Ricky Romero, who was picked sixth by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005. Romero went on to make an All-Star team and finish 10th in Cy Young Award voting in 2011, but was functionally done as a big-league pitcher before he turned 27 after developing a case of the yips. For his career, he finished with 801 innings and a 103 ERA+. Lodolo would take the latter, albeit ideally with more of the former.
The rest of that class, by the way, featured a number of well-known names: Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ryan Braun each went in the top five. Later, after Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Jay Bruce, and Andrew McCutchen went off the board. And that was just the top dozen picks. Yowza. Teams across the league are hopeful 2019’s class produces a similar number of stars.
Keep tabs on who else gets selected in the first round.