When it looked like the Phillies (43-67) had the top overall pick locked up for next year's draft, there was no doubt that they would be able to find a player exactly to their liking to add to the mix. Now, the Marlins have tied them for the worst record, thanks to the Phillies going 14-5 out of the break and the Marlins having lost five straight and six-of-seven in August. The Milwaukee Brewers, who were thought to be a good choice to be battling the Phillies for the worst record, are now 47-64, just 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies and Marlins for putridity. Colorado (46-61, 4 1/2 back) are within striking distance. You can't even rule out the American League worst Oakland A's, who are 5 1/2 games out of the top pick at 49-62, or Boston, just a half-game better than Oakland.
Of the teams truly contending for the best of the worst, only the Phillies have anything close to a winning percentage since the All-Star Game. At 14-5 (.737), the Phillies have definitely hurt themselves when compared with the Brewers 9-12 (.429), A's 8-12 (.400), Rockies 7-11 (.368) Red Sox 7-14 (.333) and the Marlins 5-16, (.238). By going 10-11 since the break, Seattle has pushed themselves further out of the running, moving themselves from the fifth pick at the break to the sixth overall as of now.
So, where does that leave the Phillies?
The Phillies won't maintain their .737 winning percentage the rest of the way, but let's say they go 26-26 for a .500 winning percentage. They would finish 69-93 on the season. Just as the Phillies aren't likely to continue their winning percentage, the Marlins aren't likely to continue to be as bad as they have been since the break. Let's say they finish at 62-100, which would be just a 19-33 record (.365) the rest of the way, they would be worse than the Phillies. If the other teams continue to win at their post all-star pace, here's how the battle for the worst record in baseball would stand when the season is done.
1. Miami 62-100
2. Boston 63-99
3. Colorado 66-96
4. Brewers 68-94
5. Phillies 69-93
5. A's 69-93
How badly would the Phillies be hurt if they fell from the top pick to the fifth or even sixth overall pick?
Fortunately, the 2016 Draft class appears to be deeper than the 2015 class was. The deepest portion of the draft is likely to be among college pitchers. There are two real prizes as things stand right now among college pitchers. Both are 6'7" and both are hard throwers, but one is a lefty and the other, a righty. The left-hander is A.J. Puk out of the University of Florida, while Oklahoma's Alec Hansen is the righty. Both throw in the mid-90s and will look to separate themselves from the rest of the class - and each other - in the 2016 college season.
The draft is also pretty nicely decorated with college position players. Texas A&M outfielder Nick Banks combines raw power with speed and a canon for an arm and will likely be highly touted. Corey Ray (Louisville) and Ryan Boldt (Nebraska) are speed guys who also have decent and increasing power. Both can play center field and both are left-handed hitters. Arizona third baseman Bobby Dalbec and catcher/first baseman Zach Collins of Miami have tons of power and could develop into middle of the order mashers.
If you have the top pick, you're not looking at a high school pitcher (none have ever been taken with the first overall pick). If you're fifth or sixth, they come into play. The Phillies could look local for left-hander Jason Groome out of Barnegat, New Jersey. Right now though, Groome is behind Riley Pint (Lenexa, KS) and Austin Bergner (Windemere, FL), both of whom are right-handers. Some scouts believe that Pint and Bergner have the potential to blossom into the type of pitchers that teams will consider with that first overall pick.
As for high school position players, the pickings are somewhat slim. In fact, varsity position players are the thinnest area of the draft class, at least with a view coming from ten months away. There are a couple young catchers - Brad Debo (Durham, NC) and Herbert Iser (Miami, FL) - but it's not likely that either are good enough to go in the top five range. Outfielder Blake Rutherford (Simi Valley, CA) has an intriguing left-handed bat and could wind up being the best of the high school position players.
Bottom line is that the Phillies will be able to find a quality player with the fifth or sixth overall pick. Where the Phillies would find themselves hurt is when it comes to choice. If they're looking at a particular type of player, the best of that batch could easily be gone by the time the Phillies pick. That leaves them with taking a player that fits the mold of what they want, but is a bit of a reach that high, or changing strategies and going with a different type of player than what they hoped to garner.
So, enjoy the winning, but hope that some of these other bad teams start to pick up the pace a little, as well. The Phillies have 16 games left with teams battling for the top draft pick - three at Milwaukee, three at Boston, seven at Miami and three at home against Miami - and it wouldn't be such a bad thing to see the Phillies lose a good chunk of those games. The Marlins have caught the Phillies in the basement of Major League Baseball, but we can't have more teams joining the party.