Now that the Cubs’ winning streak has ended, I thought it less uncouth to check back in on the reverse standings, where the Cubs’ winning ways have caused a precipitous slide from the 7th spot all the way to number 10. This matters not only for where the Cubs pick in the first round of next year’s draft, but also where they pick every round thereafter, and, most importantly, how large their overall bonus pool will be.*
As you can see, that 10th spot is key, because after it, you actually drop an extra spot thanks to the pick the Mets are getting next year for failing to sign Kumar Rocker:
Among the teams roughly in the Cubs’ range, the Nationals have been sufficiently brutal to get themselves into that 5/6 competition, while the Tigers’ recent slide has them now just a game behind the Cubs. A week ago, that margin was six games.
Looking ahead, the Cubs do have one of the tougher remaining schedules, with the series finale tonight against the Reds, and then they’ve got three each against the Giants, Brewers, and Phillies, plus seven against the Cardinals. All are teams that still have something to fight for. Only five of the Cubs’ remaining games are against teams out of the race, with three against the Pirates and two more against the Twins (those two are, dare I say, must lose games?).
The Tigers’ schedule is in a similar range, with seven against out-of-it teams, but the rest against some of the best of the best (Rays, White Sox, Brewers). The Rockies have a middling schedule remaining, but your hope on that front is that they close the year with nine at home, where they are still very good, and then a three-game series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. I believe in you, Rockies.
The Twins and Royals also have middle-ish schedules, that are, on paper, easier than what the Cubs have remaining.
Realistically, then, the Cubs could climb back to that seven spot in the coming weeks, and *maybe* pass one of the Nationals or Marlins for the six. More plausibly, you’d just like to see the Cubs hold onto at least the ten so they aren’t dropping an extra spot. Needless to say, I’m gonna need all of you to become big Tigers, Rockies, Royals, and Twins fans the rest of the way.
As for any more winning the Cubs do, well, you just kinda have to take it for what it is. Like we did with the winning streak. There was a lot of fun to be had, so there’s nothing wrong with hanging your hat on that. Moreover, it’s still good and valuable for certain Cubs players to perform well right now – it can put them in a better spot for next year, and/or it helps leave open the door for “you never know” type trades this offseason. Even in a mode where you’re watching the reverse standings, winning isn’t all bad!
*Barring significant changes to the draft in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, of course. But the latest rumors indicated that dramatic draft changes were unlikely.