Playoff races rightfully get most of the attention this time of year, but there’s intrigue at the bottom of the standings, too. Seven teams have clinched protected first round picks in the 2013 amateur draft with three days remaining in the regular season. The Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, Indians and Red Sox will have top ten selections in next year’s draft even if they win the remainder of their games.
These teams can sign elite free agents this offseason (players who turned down qualifying offers from their former clubs) and retain their first round selections. Instead, these teams would surrender second round selections.
As MLBTR detailed last week, the nine teams with the worst records in baseball will have protected first round selections in 2013. The Pirates will also have a protected first round pick, since they did not sign their top 2012 selection, Mark Appel.
The Blue Jays and Royals are currently positioned to obtain the remaining two protected 2013 picks. The Mariners and Mets could pass the Blue Jays or Royals depending on the results of the season's final series.