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Tigers in position for top 5 pick in 2019 MLB draft

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The Tigers will pick no worse than sixth in the first round of next year’s draft.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers lost their 96th game of the 2018 season on Friday. While this isn’t a great look in the MLB standings, it clinched them a top six pick in next year’s MLB draft. The Tigers can now finish no better than 66-96, which could tie them with the Cincinnati Reds for the sixth-worst record in baseball.

Here’s the kicker: the Tigers own tiebreakers over all other teams because they finished with the worst record in baseball last season. So, if they finish tied with Cincinnati — or Chicago, Miami, or San Diego — the Tigers will receive the higher pick in the 2019 MLB draft.

Here’s what next year’s top 10 looks like as of Saturday morning.

1. Baltimore Orioles: 46-113
2. Kansas City Royals: 57-103
3. Chicago White Sox: 62-98
4. Miami Marlins: 63-96
5. Detroit Tigers: 64-96
6. San Diego Padres: 65-95
7. Cincinnati Reds: 66-94
8. Texas Rangers: 67-93
9. Atlanta Braves*
10. San Francisco Giants: 73-87

*The Braves will receive the No. 9 pick in next year’s draft because they failed to sign their first round pick, righthander Carter Stewart, in 2018.

As mentioned, the Tigers cannot finish any lower than sixth in these reverse standings. The Orioles and Royals have already locked up the first two picks, meaning Detroit, or anyone else listed, cannot finish any higher than third.

Here’s what needs to happen for the Tigers to clinch a top five pick (or better).

  • Because the Tigers own tiebreakers with every team, they only need to finish with the same record as the Padres to clinch the No. 5 pick in next year’s draft. This effectively gives them a two-game lead over the Padres. Detroit’s “Magic Number” to clinch the fifth overall pick is down to one.
  • The Marlins are unlikely to pay 162 games — they have yet to make up a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates — making their situation a little stickier. Miami owns a half-game lead over Detroit right now, so the Tigers need the Marlins to win at least one more game over the New York Mets this weekend to move up to No. 4.
  • The White Sox hold a two game lead over the Tigers with two games to go. Their “Magic Number” to finish ahead of Detroit is down to one. For Detroit to move up to the No. 3, they need the White Sox to win their final two games while losing their last two games against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers also need the Marlins to win another game in this scenario to ensure they finish ahead of both Miami and Chicago.