As the season winds down, we have to come to some sobering conclusions. No, the Braves are not going to make the playoffs (not even remotely close), but there are areas for encouragement. New arrivals like Ender Inciarte and Mallex Smith have been exciting to watch, Dansby Swanson has made the major league roster, and the farm system is absolutely loaded.
Furthermore, being awful this season does have some rewards, including picking highly in the next draft. The Braves are currently in the driver’s seat for the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, so lets take a look at the contenders.
Current Draft Order (ties not broken...obviously incomplete)
San Diego 55-75
Tampa Bay 55-74
As we can see, two teams have separated themselves in the “race” for the number one pick in the draft with the Braves and the Twins. With several series left against teams fighting for wild card and potential division spots such as the Royals, Tigers, and Indians, the Twins are easily the most likely team to challenge the Braves for the lowest spot in the cellar as no one is within 5 games of the Braves and Twins for that distinction.
As for the Braves, they have 7 games against the Marlins (who the Braves have actually played well against all year), 6 games against the Mets who the Braves have performed well against of late, and 6 games against the Phillies who are not terrifying to really anyone. With the Braves likely to bring at least some talented players up from the minor leagues, its entirely possibly the month of September could be decent in the W/L column but bad for the Braves chances for the first overall pick, although at this point a top 2 pick is all but a lock.