The Braves have played 97 games so far this season. There are 65 games remaining, over one-third of the season. They are 33-64 overall. The Braves were 9-28 (.243) under Fredi Gonzalez and are 24-36 (.400) under Brian Snitker.
Here are the standings in reverse order, as the teams would pick in next June's draft.
1. Atlanta (33-64) .340
2. Minnesota (36-60) .375 - (-3.5)
3. Cincinnati (37-59) .385 - (-4.5)
4. Tampa Bay (38-58) .396 - (-5.5)
5. Arizona (40-56) .417 (-7.5)
6. Milwaukee (40-54) .426 (-8.5)
So the Braves are on track to have the first pick in the 2017 draft. That could be crucial in Atlanta's rebuilding process.
Look at the first overall picks in the last 12 drafts:
2005 - Justin Upton - Arizona
2006 - Luke Hochevar - Kansas City
2007 - David Price - Tampa Bay
2008 - Tim Beckham - Tampa Bay
2009 - Stephen Strasburg - Washington
2010 - Bryce Harper - Washington
2011 - Gerrit Cole - Pittsburgh
2012 - Carlos Correa - Houston
2013 - Mark Appel - Houston
2014 - Brady Aiken - Houston
2015 - Dansby Swanson - Arizona
2016 - Mickey Moniak - Philadelphia
Getting the first pick does not guarantee you will get a star. The Royals probably wish they had taken Clayton Kershaw instead of Hochevar in 2006. Buster Posey would have been a better top overall pick two years later by Tampa Bay. And the Astros are likely kicking themselves for not taking Kris Bryant in 2013.
But it does give a team the benefit of at least selecting the potential best player. And if there is a Harper-type player, that can always accelerate a rebuilding process.
Here are some of the names being mentioned as top picks next June:
- J.J. Schwarz - C - University of Florida
- K.J. Harrison - C - Oregon State
- Alex Faedo - RHP - University of Florida
- J.B. Bukauskas - RHP - North Carolina
- Kyle Wright - RHP - Vanderbilt
- Tanner Houck - RHP - Missouri
- Brendan McKay - LHP - Louisville
- Alex Lange - RHP - LSU
- Hunter Greene - RHP - HS in California
- Hagen Danner - RHP - HS in California
- Alex Toral - 1B - HS in Florida
- Mark Vientos - SS - HS in Florida
- Connor Uselton - OF - HS in Oklahoma
There are still a lot of games to be played, but the Braves could be in position to get the first overall pick in the draft since they selected Chipper Jones in 1990.
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