Who Says the Cubs are Playing for Nothing?
The Cubs are set to mercifully play their final game of the season against the San Diego Padres tonight. Other than the rather meaningless goal of Ryan Dempster hitting 200 innings, a win or loss could be the difference between drafting Ryan Braun or Wade Townsend.
As you probably know, the Cubs are in a September race of their own that has come down to the final day. Oh sure, nothing as immediately gratifying as the current wild card races, but depending on how the games play out tonight, the Cubs can do as well as the 5th spot in the draft or fall back as far as the 8th spot. The ramifications of which could be rather meaningful for next year's draft and upcoming Cubs seasons. Just going back to 1995, here's who was picked #5 through #8:
- 1995: Ariel Prieto, Jaime Jones, J. Johnson, T. Helton
- 1996: John Patterson, Seth Greisinger, Matt White, Chad Green
- 1997: V. Wells, Geoff Goetz, D. Reichert, JJ Davis
- 1998: JD Drew, Ryan Mills, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez
- 1999: B.J Garbe, Josh Girdley, Kyle Snyder, Bobby Bradley
- 2000: Justin Wayne, Rocco Baldelli, Matt Harrington, Matt Wheatland
- 2001: Mark Teixeira, Josh Karp, Chris Smith, J. Van Benschoten
- 2002: Clint Everts, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Scott Moore
- 2003: Chris Lubanski, Ryan Harvey, Nick Markakis, Paul Maholm
- 2004: Mark Rogers, Jeremy Sowers, Homer Bailey, Wade Townsend (O's)
- 2005: Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Wade Townsend (Rays)
- 2006: Brandon Morrow, Andrew Miller, Clayton Kershaw, Drew Stubbs
- 2007: Matt Wieters, Ross Detwiler, Matt LaPorta, Casey Weathers
- 2008: Buster Posey, Kyle Skipworth, Yonder Alonso, Gordon Beckham
- 2009: Matthew Hobgood, Zack Wheeler, Mike Minor, Mike Leake
- 2010: Drew Pomeranz, Barret Loux, Matt Harvey, Delino DeShields Jr.
- 2011: Bubba Starling, Anthong Rendon, Archie Bradley, Francisco Lindor
Not that you can't get a good pick at #8, and it might even be better than the #5 pick, but you have to like your chances a lot better at #5. Had Soriano struck out yesterday like he normally does, it would have just been a battle for the 5th or 6th spot tonight.
The first four spots of the 2012 draft are locked as Seattle owns the tiebreaker over Baltimore to get the #3 spot. That tiebreaker is whomever had the worse record the prior season. The Cubs currently hold the 7th spot in the draft losing the tiebreaker to the Royals. The Cubs also lose the tiebreaker to the Pirates if they end up tied, but hold a tiebreak advantage over the Marlins, Rockies and Padres and thus can do no worse than the #8 spot in the draft. So here are the potential scenarios for the 5th spot with the number in parenthesis being the number of season wins in that scenario:
Cubs lose thus Padres win (71), Royals win(72), Pirates win or lose(72
or 73) = tie between Cubs and Padres and Cubs get the 5th spot
Cubs lose (71) thus Padres win (71), Royals lose(71), Pirates win or lose(72 or 73) = 3-way tie between Cubs, Royals and Padres with Royals taking the #5 spot, Cubs #6, Padres #7.
Cubs win (72) thus Padres lose (70), Royals lose(71), Pirates win(73) = Padres get 5th spot, Royals 6th, Cubs 7th, Pirates 8th, 9th or 10th depending on Marlins and Rockies game (Pirates own tiebreak advantage over both).
Cubs win (72) thus Padres lose (70), Royals lose(71), Pirates lose(72) = Padres get 5th spot, Royals 6th, Pirates 7th, Cubs 8th and doesn't matter what Marlins or Rockies do
Cubs win (72) thus Padres lose (70), Royals win (72), Pirates win (73) = Padres get 5th spot, Royals 6th, Cubs 7th, Pirates 8th, 9th or 10th depending on Marlins and Rockies games
Cubs win (72) thus Padres lose (70), Royals win (72), Pirates lose (72) = Padres get 5th spot, Pirates 6th, Royals 7th, Cubs 8th
I left Oakland in there, although they have no effect on the Cubs, but if you're curious they own the tiebreaker over Rockies, but lose it to Pirates and Marlins.
Ultimately, a Cubs loss means either the #5 or #6 pick and a Cubs win means either the 7th or 8th pick. A Cubs loss and Royals win is what we should all be rooting for tonight.