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

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.


    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.