SECAUCUS, N.J. — Adley Rutschman heard the chatter for months that he'd be the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
The switch-hitting Oregon State catcher just kept slugging at the plate and throwing out would-be basestealers all season from behind it — making it an easy call for the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
"It's unbelievable," Rutschman said from Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, shortly after becoming the top selection. "Just to look back on how I was as a kid and seeing what my expectations were, how far I've come from there, it's special."
The announcement by Commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB Network studios marked the second time the Orioles led off the draft — they took LSU pitcher Ben McDonald in 1989.
"I met with all the teams over the course of the year and knew the Orioles were going to be the first overall," said Rutschman, a 40th-round pick by Seattle three years ago. "As the year progressed and went along, it looked like it was a possibility more and more. It just worked out that way."
With the No. 2 choice, the Kansas City Royals grabbed Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., son of former big league pitcher Bobby Witt.
The younger Witt has draft-day bragging rights on his father, who won 142 games over 16 seasons after being selected No. 3 overall by Texas in 1985.
"Now I've got him beat," Bobby Witt Jr. said on MLB Network.
The rebuilding Orioles had the No. 1 pick after plummeting to the worst record in the majors last season. They're at the bottom of the standings again with an 18-41 start — but getting Rutschman provides hope for a franchise that finished last in the AL East the past two years.
"He's everything you want and he plays a premium defensive position with athleticism that gives him versatility to play elsewhere, as needed," Orioles general manager Mike Elias said in a video statement posted on the team's Twitter account. "A future fixture for this organization."
The 21-year-old Rutschman had been the favorite to go first overall since he led Oregon State to the College World Series championship last year and was selected the most outstanding player.
He followed that up with a dominant junior season for the Beavers, hitting .411 with a career-best 17 homers to go with 58 RBIs and a school-record 76 walks. On defense, he threw out 13 of 27 runners attempting to steal.
Rutschman, a native of Sherwood, Oregon, is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to the country's top college player. He was the Pac-12 player of the year and the conference's co-defensive player of year.
His selection marked the seventh time a player drafted as a catcher was taken with the top pick, and first since Minnesota tabbed Joe Mauer in 2001.
"The amount of work that goes into what he's done and becoming the No. 1 pick is not something that's ordinary," Elias said. "I met Adley this winter and was immediately struck by him and impressed by his maturity and leadership."
The Witts became the highest-drafted father-son duo, topping Tom Grieve (No. 6, 1966) and Ben Grieve (No. 2, 1994). They are the seventh father-son combination of first-rounders, and first since Delino DeShields (1987) and Delino DeShields Jr. (2010).
"The dreams are kind of turning into reality," the younger Witt said.
University of California slugging first baseman Andrew Vaughn went to the Chicago White Sox with the third pick.
Vaughn batted .381 this season with 15 homers and 50 RBIs, and struck out just 74 times in three college seasons. The 6-foot, 214-pound Vaughn is also looking to become the first repeat winner of the Golden Spikes Award after earning the honor as a sophomore last year.
Cal had the only set of teammates — college or high school — drafted in the first round, with Golden Bears catcher Korey Lee going 32nd overall to Houston.
Miami drafted Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday at No. 4, adding the Southeastern Conference player of the year who leads Division I players in home runs with a school-record 26. A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the lefty-hitting Bleday brings a 42-game on-base streak into next weekend's super regionals round of the NCAA Tournament.
With the fifth pick, Detroit took Florida high school outfielder Riley Greene. Gatorade's Florida state player of year hit .422 with eight homers and 27 RBIs.
More draft history was made when San Diego selected speedy Georgia high school shortstop CJ Abrams at No. 6, marking the first time no pitchers were taken within the first six picks.
In a draft light on premier pitching prospects, 22 of the 34 first-round picks were position players — setting a draft record.
TCU left-hander Nick Lodolo ended the early run on hitters, going seventh overall to Cincinnati. Lodolo was the 41st overall pick by Pittsburgh in 2016 — the highest selection to go unsigned that year.
Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung , the co-Big 12 player of the year, was the eighth pick by Texas.
Atlanta took Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers with the ninth selection — which the Braves received as compensation for not signing last year's No. 8 pick, pitcher Carter Stewart, who was eligible for this year's draft but instead inked a six-year contract last week with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League that will guarantee him as much as $7 million.
Langeliers threw out 14 of 25 would-be basestealers this season and set an NCAA Tournament record with 11 RBIs in a three-homer game against Omaha last Saturday night.
Arizona State power-hitting outfielder Hunter Bishop — younger brother of Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop — went to San Francisco, rounding out the first 10 selections.
Texas high school third baseman Brett Baty was the first of the four prospects in attendance to be drafted, going 12th overall to the Mets.
San Jacinto Junior College right-hander Jackson Rutledge was the second selected, going to Washington at No. 17. Daniel Espino, a right-hander from Georgia Premier Academy, went 24th overall to Cleveland.
Right-hander Brennan Malone from IMG Academy in Florida was the last of the players on site to find out where he'll be starting his pro career, going 33rd to Arizona — with Hall of Famer Randy Johnson announcing his selection as the Diamondbacks' representative.
"That was awesome," a beaming Malone said.
The draft resumes Tuesday with rounds 3-10 held via conference calls with teams, and concludes Wednesday with rounds 11-40.
Here's a capsule look at the first 10 picks in the Major League Baseball draft Monday night:
No. 1 - BALTIMORE ORIOLES: ADLEY RUTSCHMAN, C, OREGON STATE
Golden Spikes Award finalist was Pac-12 player of year and conference's co-defensive player of year. Marked seventh time player drafted as catcher taken with top pick — first since Joe Mauer in 2001. Switch-hitting slugger batted .411 with career-best 17 homers and 58 RBIs for Beavers, and threw out 13 of 27 runners attempting to steal. Ranked among national leaders in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.575), slugging percentage (.751) and walks (school-record 76). Was 40th-round pick by Seattle in 2016
No. 2 - KANSAS CITY ROYALS: BOBBY WITT JR, SS, COLLEYVILLE HERITAGE H.S. (TEXAS)
Son of former big league pitcher Bobby Witt , who was selected No. 3 overall by Texas Rangers in 1985 draft. Witts became highest-drafted father-son duo, topping Tom Grieve (No. 6, 1966) and Ben Grieve (No. 2, 1994). They're also seventh father-son combo of first-rounders, and first since Delino DeShields (1987) and Delino DeShields Jr. (2010). Younger Witt considered top high school prospect this year. Five-tool shortstop has impressive power with smooth right-handed swing.
No. 3 - CHICAGO WHITE SOX: ANDREW VAUGHN, 1B, CALIFORNIA
Outstanding overall hitter looking to become first repeat winner of Golden Spikes Award after being selected country's top college player as sophomore last year. Widely considered best all-around hitter in draft , Vaughn hit .381 with 15 homers, 50 RBIs and .544 on-base percentage that ranks among national leaders. Struck out just 74 times in three seasons.
No. 4 - MIAMI MARLINS: JJ BLEDAY, OF, VANDERBILT
Finalist for Golden Spikes Award. With quick lefty swing, Southeastern Conference player of year leads nation in homers with school-record 26. SEC Tournament MVP hitting .351 and brings 42-game on-base streak into next weekend's super regionals in NCAA Tournament. Cemented status as potential top-five pick when selected last summer as Cape Cod League's best prospect.
No. 5 - DETROIT TIGERS: RILEY GREENE, OF, HAGERTY H.S. (FLORIDA)
Gatorade's Florida state player of year hit .422 with eight homers, 27 RBIs and 38 runs as arguably country's top prep outfielder. Has smooth left-handed swing that produces consistent line drives. Projects as corner outfielder in pros with good pop. Was one of stars of Team USA's 18-and-under national team, leading squad with 20 RBIs.
No. 6 - SAN DIEGO PADRES: CJ ABRAMS, SS, BLESSED TRINITY H.S. (GEORGIA)
Speedy shortstop is lefty hitter who batted .418 with eight home runs and 100 RBIs in high school career. Impressed teams last summer by hitting .297 with eight RBIs for Team USA's 18-and-under national team while playing center field. Has speed and arm to remain at shortstop, but could shift to center or second base at next level.
No. 7 - CINCINNATI REDS: NICK LODOLO, LHP, TCU
Generally regarded as top pitching prospect in this year's class, lefty went 6-6 with 2.36 ERA and struck out 131 while walking just 25 in 103 innings for Horned Frogs. Was 41st overall pick by Pirates in 2016 — highest selection to go unsigned that year. Became school's highest-drafted player, topping Lance Broadway (No. 15 by White Sox in 2005). Uses three-quarters arm angle to throw mid-90s (mph) fastball with nice sink. Slider also plus-pitch that sits in low-80s and complements solid changeup.
No. 8 - TEXAS RANGERS: JOSH JUNG, 3B, TEXAS TECH
Co-Big 12 player of year was among conference leaders in several offensive categories. Batted .340 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs while helping lead Red Raiders to NCAA Tournament. Had 11 homers and projects to produce good pop at next level with controlled, consistent right-handed swing and terrific plate discipline. Slid over from third base to shortstop early this season.
No. 9 - ATLANTA BRAVES: SHEA LANGELIERS, C, BAYLOR
Outstanding defensive catcher threw out 14 of 25 would-be basestealers. Would have been shoo-in for first catcher selected if not for Rutschman. Bounced back from broken hamate bone in left hand that sidelined him for 10 games. Has raw power in smooth right-handed swing. Hit .308 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs. Set NCAA Tournament record with 11 RBIs in three-homer game vs. Omaha last Saturday night.
No. 10 - SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: HUNTER BISHOP, OF, ARIZONA STATE
Slugging outfielder has powerful left-handed swing that helped him rank among national leaders in home runs (22), RBIs (63), total bases (165) and runs (65). Has light-tower power and finished five homers shy of Sun Devils' single-season record of 27 by Mitch Jones in 2000. Had 44-game on-base streak. Younger brother of Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop (third round, 2015).