The confidence that Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias expressed in his ability to sign his top draft pick wasn’t unfounded or misplaced.
The Orioles announced this evening that they signed Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, with an introductory press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. MLB.com’s Jim Callis is reporting an agreement with Alabama prep shortstop Gunnar Henderson, the club’s second-round pick.
Rutschman, the first overall selection, will receive a record signing bonus of $8.1 million, as first reported by Callis. His slot carried a value of $8,415,300.
Pitcher Gerrit Cole held the previous record with an $8 million bonus.
Callis reported that Henderson is signing for $2.3 million, which puts him over slot. The value of the 42nd overall pick is $1,771,100.
The Orioles announced over the weekend that they signed center fielder Kyle Stowers (Competitive Balance Round B) shortstop Darell Hernaiz (fifth round), catcher Maverick Handley (sixth), shortstop Andrew Martinez (24th) and left-hander Jake Prizina (31st) - raising their total to 29 out of the 41 players chosen in the draft.
Rutschman bumps it up to 30, with Henderson on deck.
There was never any real doubt that the duo would sign, though Henderson had a commitment to Auburn University.
Rutschman still had academic obligations to fulfill at Oregon State and he also received the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy after the Orioles selected him. He arrived in Baltimore over the weekend, raising speculation that a deal was in the works.
No reason to be nervous over the delay.
The switch-hitting Rutschman was the consensus first pick in the draft after slashing .411/.575/.751 as a junior with 10 doubles, a triple, 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 57 games and batting .419/.578/.731 in 29 games in the Pac 12 conference. He exhibited tremendous discipline at the plate and his work behind it also elevated his status among scouts and other talent evaluators throughout baseball.
The Orioles held the first overall pick for only the second time in club history. They selected LSU pitcher Ben McDonald back in 1989.
Rutschman will be introduced to the crowd during Tuesday night’s game against the Padres at Camden Yards. Perhaps the media will be told where he’s beginning his professional career, with short-season Single-A Aberdeen and low Single-A Delmarva the likely choices.
Henderson, 17, was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Alabama. He batted .559/.641/1.225 with 17 doubles, nine triples, 11 home runs, 75 RBIs, 69 runs scored and 28 stolen bases in 32 games.
LSU outfielder Zach Watson, a third rounder, is the highest unsigned pick. The deadline to sign draft selections is July 12 at 5 p.m.