With the White Sox BASICALLY out of contention, every Monday and Thursday until the end of the regular season, we'll take a quick peek at where the White Sox stand in their 2016 MLB Draft position. The draft position is important for two reasons:
The first, very obvious reason is that the higher you pick, the better the talent pool you have to choose from. The second, slightly less obvious reason is that if the White Sox pick in the Top 10, they can sign free agents who are issued qualifying offers without forfeiting a first round draft pick.
We saw this work in the team's favor last season as they signed premium free agents Melky Cabrera and David Robertson and only had to sacrifice picks in the second and third rounds because their draft position was No. 8 overall.
The Bottom of the League
The Race for 10th
The White Sox found themselves picking 10th just last week, but a recent winning streak that included a weekend sweep of the Kansas City Royals now has them on the outside looking in, in what continues to be a jumbled mess of mediocrity.
For those of you too lazy to count, the White Sox currently sit 13th in the 2016 MLB Draft if the season ended today, and in a virtual tie with Seattle. Let's take a look at some of their main competition for that No. 10 pick, how they've fared and what lies ahead:
No. 9: Boston Red Sox (1 game in front of 11th place)
Last series: 3-0
Next series: Three games vs. Toronto
The Red Sox have actually shot up to the fringes of the Top 10 thanks to a home sweep of the putrid Philadelphia Phillies last weekend. However, with three games starting Monday against the hottest team in baseball, they're likely going to remain with a tight grip on their Top 10 spot.
No. 10 (tie): Arizona Diamondbacks (—)
Last series: 0-4
Next series: Three games vs. San Francisco
The Diamondbacks slid into a tie for the No. 10 spot after running into the red-hot Cubs. A team that was expected to contend for the No. 1 overall pick when the year began has been playing like it lately, dropped 7 of 9 and 11 of 14.
No. 10 (tie): San Diego Padres (—)
Last series: 1-4
Next series: Four games vs. Colorado
The Padres have likewise been in a tailspin ever since a five-game winning streak in mid-August, and dropped three straight to the Dodgers after taking the series opener on Thursday. A four-game set against Colorado will hopefully point them in the right direction and out of the Top 10.
No. 12: Baltimore Orioles (-.5)
Last series: 1-3
Next series: Three games at New York Yankees
It's kind of hard to believe the Orioles have a worse record than the White Sox, but that's how bad they've been lately. After winning two following a six-game losing streak, they dropped the last two games of a series at Toronto. With series' against the Yankees, Royals, Rays and Nationals sandwiched around a series against the Red Sox, things could continue to be bleak.
No. 13: Chicago White Sox (-1)
Last series: 3-0
Next series: Three games vs. Cleveland
Taking the series finale vs. Minnesota, followed by a surprising three-game sweep of the Royals, put the White Sox on the outside looking in. And while it's, of course, nice to see the team playing good baseball of late, anything short of a shocking Wild Card run will see the White Sox in the disappointing "no-mans land" where they're not a playoff team but not quite bad enough to get that protected pick. The schedule to come makes it unlikely we'll see them fall much farther, as they only have three more series against teams with winning record (3 with Minnesota, 3 with the Yankees and 3 with Kansas City).
No. 14: Seattle Mariners (-1)
Last series: 3-0
Next series: Four games vs. Texas
For as hot as the White Sox have been, Seattle's been hot even longer. After splitting a four-game series with the White Sox, the Mariners promptly took two of three from Houston before sweeping Oakland to complete a 7-3, 10-game road trip. Four games against the Rangers will be key in finding out how they'll finish out the season.
No. 15: Cleveland Indians (-2)
Last series: 2-1
Next series: Three games at Chicago White Sox
Outside of two losses to the Blue Jays (who doesn't lose to these guys nowadays?), Cleveland seems to be trending more toward surprise Wild Card contention than a Top 10 pick. If they can take care of business against the White Sox, things could get interesting. If one of those two teams can sweep the other, they will likely be eliminated from contention for a Top 10 pick.
No. 16: Tampa Bay Rays (-2.5)
Last series: 1-2
Next series: Three games at Detroit
The Rays and Orioles are the two most surprising teams on this list as both were still in legitimate Wild Card contention just a week or two ago. They still are, really, but the recent free falls might have them thinking more about draft position. The Rays could fall off this list completely if they take care of business in the next week when they have six games combined against the Tigers and Red Sox.