The Red Sox now have 15 games to go in the lost season of 2012. For those diehards looking for anything at all to follow for the next couple of weeks or so, try this. The Red Sox are in the hunt for one of the highest draft picks in team history. As of the end of this weekend in Toronto, they are sitting at pick #7. The last time the Red Sox picked seventh was in 1993 and they grabbed Trot Nixon.
The teams having the first five picks have somewhat separated from the pack. They are Houston 48 wins, Cubs 57, Colorado 58, and the Twins and Indians with 60. Here are the current standings for the teams battling for picks 6 through 14.
6. Miami 65-82
7. Boston 66-81
8. Kansas City 66-80
9. Pittsburgh** ( more on this below)
10. Mets 66-80
11. Toronto 66-79
12. Seattle 70-76
13. San Diego 70-76
14. Arizona 71-74
The next three teams with between 72 and 74 wins are the Phillies, Brewers, and Pirates.
A couple of housekeeping notes, the teams that are tied above ( KC/Mets and M's /Padres) may change spots due to tie breaking system. To be honest I did not look up the current status of those ties since it did not involve Boston. But speaking of tiebreakers apparently the first one is the 2011 record of the teams, and therefore the Red Sox would lose a tie breaker to any of the other mentioned teams in the 6-14 range, and could drop a spot or two if the finished tied for a slot.
The ** for the Pirates at #9 means this. This spot is not up for grabs but is locked in to Pittsburgh. The have received the ninth pick in the 2013 draft for not signing Mark Appel, a Stanford pitcher they could not sign at number 8 this year. So if Boston slips down "two spots" it would really be three. For example if the Sox lost a tiebreaker for #8 or a three way tie breaker for #7 they could fall to #10.
Another thing to be aware of while following this "race". If your pick is in the top 11 ( usually the top ten but this draft is adjusted for the #9 Pirates pick) you can sign a free agent without giving up your first round draft pick. This makes the top 11 picks extra important. For the Red Sox, they likely won't chase Greinke or Josh Hamilton, but one free agent they could want who may very well require draft pick compensation is Mike Napoli, and there could be a few others.
Now to root for the highest possible pick, it requires rooting for the Red Sox to lose. I am not quite there yet, but look at their schedule. All remaining 15 games are versus the three AL East teams in hot contention for the division title or the wild card race. 6 with the rays ( the next 4 in St. Pete, 2 in Boston), 6 total with Baltimore( 3 each road/home ), and the final three games of the year in the Bronx.
Besides getting an obviously high first round pick, it also means the Sox get to pick nearly 20 spots higher than usual in every round of the draft. This will increase the chances or finding better players throughout. Also, starting with the 2012 draft, MLB instituted a budget of money for teams to spend on the players in the first 10 rounds, or anyone selected after round ten who is paid more than $100,000. The budget is based on giving the highest amount of money for pick #1 and incrementally goes down through the picks. In order words the Red Sox will have a higher draft budget than last year in 2013.
So I say root for the Red Sox to win as always, but inevitably when the do not, keep one eye on the 2013 draft standings. And I almost forgot. Go Marlins.