With three teams clinching playoff berths on Tuesday night, it was easy to overlook another clinching — the Seattle Mariners won, guaranteeing that the Pittsburgh Pirates will pick first overall in next June’s draft. It’ll be the first time since 2002 that the Bucs have picked first overall, and their pitching-starved system will probably get a big boost with one of the best pitching classes we’ve seen in awhile.
I’ve been thinking about the Brewers’ draft position for a little while now. A few days ago, I asked on Twitter if you, as Brewer fans, would be willing to finish behind the Cubs in the NL Central standings (ending the year in 5th place) if it meant moving up the draft board.
I ask because right now, the Brewers are two games “behind” the Cubs in the reverse standings. Due to the Padres being guaranteed the 10th overall pick for not signing their first rounder this year, though, that two game difference is also a two pick difference.
If the draft was today, the Cubs would be picking 9th overall, with the 8th worst record in the league (in addition to the Padres being locked in at 10 for not signing Karsten Whitson, the Diamondbacks are guaranteed the 7th spot due to the Barret Loux fiasco). If the Brewers can finish behind the Cubs, they would bump Chicago down to the 11th pick (it’s also important to note that Houston is currently tied with the Brewers in the loss column).
When I posed the open question, I didn’t get a single “yes” in response. It surprised me a bit, but I can understand why the response was so strong. For one, it’s always nice to hold those bragging rights over the Cubs. When neither team has won a World Series in the time the Brewers have been in the league, finishing above the other team is about the best you can do.
The depth of the 2011 class also comes into play. While we don’t know where the Brewers will be making their first pick, we do know they’re guaranteed of having two Top 15 picks. With such a deep class — especially when it comes to pitching, a big organizational need — the difference between making that first pick at #9 or #11/#12 probably isn’t that large, especially when the teams picking ahead of the Brewers may not be addressing the same needs. The Cubs probably just want to get the best talent into their system, while the Padres and Astros (if they finish worse than the Brewers) could be looking at bats. The Brewers’ focus should be on high-ceiling arms.
While some of us thought it was curious that the Brewers and Mets would bother to make up Monday’s rainout with a double header today, it’s possible that today’s games could have an impact on the way the draft order shakes out. So, are you rooting for the Brewers to secure the best possible draft position, or do you want to see them finish strong?