With the season complete, we now know the order of the 2018 Major League Draft to be held in June. The order is determined by reverse standings, with no account of which league the teams are in (the order used to alternate between teams of each league). If two teams have an identical record, the tiebreaker is the 2017 standings, with the worse team getting priority.
The Royals finish with an 80-82 record, so they will have the 18th pick in next year’s draft. This seems pretty far back for a team with a losing record, but there were a LOT of bad teams in baseball this year. They actually tied with the Angels and Rays in the standings, but both teams were worse than the Royals in 2016.
Detroit won just six games in September, and earned the #1 pick in next year’s draft, followed by San Francisco. In the past, teams forfeited first-round picks for signing certain elite free agents, but that will no longer be the case under the new labor deal. Therefore, this order will not change. The complete order:
- White Sox
- Blue Jays
- Red Sox
The Royals could get some sandwich picks after the first round in compensation for losing any free agents that rejected a Qualifying Offer and signed a contract worth $50 million or more. If the free agents rejects a Qualifying Offer and signs a contract worth less than $50 million, the Royals get a pick after the second round. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain are all expected to get Qualifying Offers. The Royals will also get a competitive balance pick after the first round (there is no more draft pick lottery), which means they could have five of the first 40 picks of the draft.
With the Royals at a crossroads for the franchise, next year’s draft could be one of the most important in club history. The Royals may not be picking high, but they could have almost $14 million in the draft bonus pool to spend on amateur talent, and they need to use it wisely.