Three years ago, the Orioles were on the road towards a calamity that now seems like it was inevitable. A series of bad decisions spanning years locked them into eventually having it all fall apart. Yet when the draft rolled around in that 2017 season, the Orioles were still above .500 and within a half-game of an American League wild card spot. They remained at least on the periphery through as far as Labor Day weekend.
We know now, looking back on that disaster and the one that followed in 2018, that the only players the Orioles were drafting in 2017 were ones who might contribute to the next good Orioles team, rather than ones who might still have something to offer to an unbroken streak of successful big league teams.
It’s hard to say for certain how then-GM Dan Duquette and his team of decisionmakers might have seen it. Even if they did feel some urgency to draft fast-movers to get up there and help within a couple of seasons, they were not going to be picking at the top of the draft in order to get a chance to find one of those top-tier near-MLB-ready college stars.
Since the O’s were an AL wild card team in 2016 – though it’s weird, isn’t it, how they never…