Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said the decision on No. 1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman came pretty close to when the team went on the clock Monday night. The team used every moment available for a decision he said was going to be among the most important his new administration makes.
"It's never easy," Elias said on a conference call early Tuesday morning. "We had a few choices that we liked, and liked for different reasons. And all of these players have pros and cons, risk in their profile, that there's always more that goes into the analysis of these players than I think is possible for outside onlookers to understand.
"We spent as much time as possible analyzing every angle of this, and we arrived at Rutschman. We're thrilled to make that decision, but it was not a decision that we took lightly and didn't examine from multiple angles."
The Orioles had their top scouting staff in town early last week and began meetings with the full scouting staff Friday in Baltimore, where they broke down the candidates for the first overall pick in detail. He said it went "pretty close to the first pick," as "there's no real reason to make it well in advance of the draft."
And without saying so specifically, Elias indicated they discussed Rutschman, Texas prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., California first baseman Andrew Vaughn and Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday. Those four players went in order to the Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins. Elias said it "was very similar to what I think our board might have looked like at the top."
"We liked a lot of these guys, and the first four picks were all under pretty heavy discussion from us at one point or another," Elias said. "We just ended up going with Adley."
With the entire scouting staff in Baltimore for the draft, something Elias said last week wasn't previously the practice in Baltimore, that made for a lot of voices in the draft room. With so many voices, it made it hard for him to say it was a room full of Rutschman advocates.
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"We probably had 30 people weighing in on this, but to say there was unanimity would be inaccurate," Elias said. "I think the important thing is that all the players we were talking about, all of our scouts and front office people and analysts, and anyone who was weighing in viewed all of these as good choices and choices that they would say yes to at a [No. 1 overall] pick, but might have preferred one over another. It made for a really healthy debate. And as I've said, a really difficult but good decision."