Tanking ain’t easy.
Last season, the Padres finished 68-94, tied for the 2nd worst record in baseball with the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays, a half-game worse than the 68-93 Atlanta Braves. The Twins, having won only 59 games, tanked much harder than everyone else and will pick first in the 2017 MLB draft in 5 days. The Reds, having been very bad for multiple years in a row, won the tiebreaker over the Padres and Rays, and will pick 2nd. The Padres, having been bad but not quite terrible in 2015, won the tiebreaker over the Rays but not the Reds, and will pick 3rd. The Braves, who would be picking 3rd if they had played a full 162 game season and lost the game that was washed out, pick 5th.
With that, you could say that the Padres are a bit lucky to be picking 3rd, and that’s true, but they earned their spot by tanking really hard in the last month of the season, including losing their last 4 games. If they had won any of their last 3 games against 6th pick Arizona, they’d be picking 7th, behind both the Diamondbacks and the Oakland A’s. However, they’re either also a bit unlucky or just didn’t quite tank hard enough. If they’d lost just one more game throughout the year, they’d be picking 2nd, and with the Twins leaning against selecting high school flamethrower and consensus top talent Hunter Greene with the 1st overall pick, picking 2nd would have a huge advantage in this draft.
The public draft boards are all out, and there is a consensus top 5 that goes something like this:
- Hunter Greene RHP (HS)
- Kyle Wright RHP (C)
- Brendan McKay LHP/1B (C)
- MacKenzie Gore LHP (HS)
- Royce Lewis SS/CF (HS)