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Orioles: Draft order debate

The resurgence of the Orioles has spawned a debate on the blog about the impact of a late-season upturn on the club's draft position next June. The O's appeared to be streaking toward the No. 1 overall pick and now have put that into question by inching perilously close to overtaking the Pittsburgh Pirates in the race for the second-worst record in baseball.

It's an interesting ethical and philosophical question. If, for the sake of argument, the next Evan Longoria is poised to be the No. 1 pick next June, should the Orioles spend the month of September looking entirely at prospects instead of trying to squeeze out every victory?

I think not for a number of reasons, the first of which is that there really are no sure things in the draft. Even a Stephen Strasburg can go bust in pro ball, so I don't think it's wise to intentionally degrade your on-field major league product even in a situation like this. The Orioles need to turn a corner at some point and you can't afford to steer straight if that corner presents itself. Not saying it has this week. Just saying that you have to go where the honest competition takes you.

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It won't be an issue here because new manager Buck Showalter has made it clear that he's trying to instill a winning mindset from the get-go. He isn't going to sacrifice that possibility in exchange for the difference between the No. 1 overall pick and the second or third overall pick in next year's draft. No matter what happens, the Orioles figure to get one of those three and it's always possible that a small-market team like the Pirates will let the better player slip on signability concerns.

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