The Cincinnati Reds are currently sitting at 68-93 after winning the game on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. The Minnesota Twins have locked up the first overall pick for the 2017 draft thanks to their 58-103 record. No one else is even close. With one game left in the season there are still six teams with either 67 or 68 wins. Let’s take a look at those teams:
It’s only 11:45pm on Saturday night as I type this. Oakland is still playing, and winning 7-4 over Seattle in the 5th inning. Their record will be different by the time you have probably read this. Either way, they will still be in the race for pick #2-7 (this may not be true, I haven’t gone through all of the tie-breaker scenarios for each of the teams). If the Reds win tomorrow, the best that they can do is to draft 5th overall.
However, if the Reds lose tomorrow, there’s still a chance that they could draft 2nd overall. If the Reds were to lose and finish the season at 68-94 and the teams currently ahead of them in the draft standings won it would leave them all with the same record. The tie-breaker for situations where teams have the same record is the previous years record, which the Reds win against all teams still vying for the spot.
While the outcome of the game on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs doesn’t do anything for either team when it comes to the playoff race, as long as none of the Cubs players get injured that is, the outcome of the game is actually a very big deal for the Reds when it comes to the 2017 draft. The difference between a loss and a win could be worth an enormous amount of money the team is allowed to spend.
The Reds could finish somewhere between the #2 pick and the #6 pick depending on the outcome of the games involving these six teams. Arizona and San Diego play each other and it’s in Arizona, so no rain out can happen. Someone has to win that game, so someone will finish with 69 wins, which the Reds could match, but would hold the tie-breaker over them.
In the 2016 draft the difference between the #2 pick and the #6 pick was $3,693,700. The #6 pick has a slot value just 52% of the #2 pick. The #2 pick in the draft has never signed for over-slot money, so the team that picks second has tends to have extra money to work with. Picking #6 overall doesn’t give you the same kind of luxury. Let’s look at how the picks have worked out, in terms of saved money since the draft went to slot valuing.
|Year||#2 Savings||#6 Savings|
Teams drafting second, particularly over the last three years, have saved a boatload of money to spend further down in the draft. Teams drafting 6th overall have literally never saved a penny and twice have spent significantly more than their slot money to sign their pick.
While you don’t ever want to root against your team, there’s an enormous difference between drafting 2nd and drafting 6th. The game on Sunday can be that difference with a little help.
hat tip to Randy in Chattanooga for the suggestion to write this up.