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.

Team W-L .PCT GB
Houston 56-105 .348 --
Minnesota 62-99 .385 6.0
Seattle 67-94 .416 11.0
68-93 .422 12.0
San Diego
70-91 .435 14.0
Kansas City
71-90 .441 15.0
Cubs 71-90 .441 15.0
Pittsburgh 72-89 .447 16.0
Florida 72-89 .447 16.0
Colorado 72-89 .447 16.0
Oakland 73-88 .453 17.0

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.


Castro SS,DeWitt 2B, Ramirez 3B, Baker 1B,Johnson LF,Montanez RF,Campana CF,Hill C, Dempster P

Baker Johnson Montanez Campana Hill 4-8. Lol. No, really. What's the batting order tonight?

i'll take that cubs win, thank you.

go scrubbies.

Z's gonna be a great fantasy pick next year, motivated for a new deal, could see him in Florida or with Mets.

fwiw and imo, he was a great chicago citizen and helped out many organizations and charities while he was in chicago.

see ya Z...don't hurt the cubs from the other side.

...Campana Hill 4-8. Lol.
Does Campana running the bases ahead of KHill, slipstream Koyie by +5 mph as he runs to first?

Tonight is the end of the Koyie era?

Tonight is the end of the Koyie era?

Ah. Fond memories in the making.

unless he's going to be a coach you can turn that ? into a .

...i hope

on that note, Marlins lost and Rockies won, Marlins can move up to 8th spot if Pirates win.

5th: Padres - 70
6th: Royals - 71
7th: Cubs - 71
8th: Pirates - 72
9th: Marlins - 72
10th: Athletics - 73
11th: Rockies - 73

via Twitter Carrie Muskat
#Cubs chair Tom Ricketts is at PETCO to address team

What's the point?

aram, johnson, pena, etc going home knowing the state of the organization going forward most likely...along with chilling out the rookies so they dont get a TB situation like 4+ years ago.

he could have done it in chicago...meh. probably just wants and excuse to go drinking in SD. =p

Submitted by navigator on Wed, 09/28/2011 - 5:15pm.
via Twitter Carrie Muskat
#Cubs chair Tom Ricketts is at PETCO to address team

What's the point?


NAVI: It was at exactly this time last year when Ricketts addreesed the Cubs in Houston, and (according to Alan Trammell) Alfonso Soriano was sitting in the back and stopped Ricketts in mid-speech to tell him that the players wanted Mike Quade back as manager in 2011.

I'll update the sidebar draft pick standings as games finished.

Braves already losing in the top of 1st

Yanks take 1-0 lead as well in top of 1st over Rays

by lenandbob
With one game remaining, the #Cubs are the only team in #MLB to have not hit a grand slam this season

time to shine, campy.

Watch... he'll hit an inside the park grand slam.

Grand Slam by Teixeira off Price, 5-0 Yanks heading to bottom 2

Red Sox up 1-0 (top 3), Braves/Phillies tied at 1 (bottome 3).

O's take 2-1 lead (top 4), Braves take 3-1 lead(bottom 4), Cards up 1-0 already with 0 outs and 2 on, Yanks still up 5-0(top 3).

last game of the year and i'm stuck with the SD feed.

special torture...at least their announce crew isn't bad.

believe that gives NL batting champ to Reyes

Pirates down 2-1 (bottom 4), Royals vs. Twins tied 0-0 (top 5), Cubs down 1-0 (bottom 3).

that other race....
Braves up 3-2 (Bottom 7), Cards up 6-0 (top 5), yanks up 7-0 (top 6), Red sox up 3-2 (bottom 6)

make it 4-0 Padres

let's go Royals *clap clap*

rain delay in Baltimore, starting bottom 7th; 3-2 Bosox.

Kimbrel coming in to pitch the top of 9th for Bravos still ahead 3-2.

Blows it 3-3

Bags full nobody out in the fourth, Dumpster having enormous trouble getting the last out he needs for a two hundred IP season.

And Castro blows a double play ball....,


i don't even know if i can finish this game without boredom kicking in...especially since i don't even have coverage with a CHC announce crew.

2-9 in the bottom 6th...

Rays tie it hr in 9 th 2 outs 2 strikes


Dan Johnson, pinch hit, line drive HR in the bottom of the 9th to tie the Yanks, 7-7 after the Rays put up a 6 spot in the 8th to come back from a 7-0 defect.

extra innings in Tampa.

and Starlin Castro doubles in the 8th to keep his on base and hit streaks alive until next year...

hit 207.


So with the Twins winning 1-0 with a run in the 9th, the Cubs (barring a 9th inning rally) should be drafting 6th next year (Rob's scenario #2).

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.


bloop infield single to right side by Pence off Linebrink scores a run in the 13th, Phils ahead 4-3.

Cards handed wild card

stl wins the NL wild card, final 4-3 Phils over Braves. Epic September Collapse by Atlanta. They were ahead by 8-1/2 games on Sept 5th.

Braves lose...meh.

Nolan Reimold doubles with 2 outs to tie the RedSox at 3...off Papelbon.

and the Red Sox lose on an Andino single that LF Crawford trapped.

Longoria HR to win 8-7 and go to the postseason!

Wow... helluva' an end to the regular season.

no doubt.

Boston's collapse was worse than the Braves...they were 9 ahead on Sept 5th.

Detroit (3) at NYY (1), Tampa (4) at Texas (2)

Cards (4) at Phils (1), DBacks (3) at Brewers (2)


Tigers vs. Tampa (Fox will be thrilled with the ratings on that one)

Phils vs. Brewers

Phils vs. Tigers with Phils winning

Holy sh1t

Red Sox team ERA in Sept. was 5.90.

Cubs was 3.33.


(so the Cubs can hire him)

on that note, how long does Ricketts have to wait to before calling the Red Sox to start asking permission to talk to their guys?

suit quest...wonder how "big" ricketts is gonna go with all this.

i can't tell what's him and what's press hype anymore.

Cubs pitching was good last September as well-- 3.41 ERA, fourth best in the NL, and 17-9 won loss. This September thing deserves over-analysis.

Facing minor league callups?

Recent comments

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  • Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.

  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the MLB.com article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.