ATLANTA -- Throughout much of this past season, it looked like the Braves would own the first pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, or at least the second selection. But they ended up with the fifth overall selection courtesy of their late-season success.
With a 1-0 win over the Tigers in the last game played at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon, the Braves won 20 of their final 30 games, including 12 of their last 14. This led general manager John Coppolella to provide a sly reply when asked if he was upset about what the late success did to his draft position.
"It's something we talked about a lot," Coppolella said. "You're really between a rock and hard place. We want to win. Finishing the season strong and closing out Turner Field (with a win), that's what matters. I wish the other teams had closed out their seasons the same way we did. It didn't happen. It ended up costing us a few spots."
The first five selections in next year's Draft will go to (in order): the Twins, Reds, Padres, Rays and Braves.
Losing clubs clamor for earlier picks because it widens the available talent pool and provides more financial flexibility because the draft bonus pool is based on where a team selects.
With 30 games remaining, the Braves owned a Major League-worst 48-83 record and had 1 1/2 games separating them from the Twins, who owned the second-worst record. The Braves had a cushion of at least 7 1/2 games separating them from each of the other four teams that ended up finishing behind them.
"We have found talent a lot of different ways," Coppolella said. "We've got great scouts and we've got great player development. We'll find a way. Would it be easier if we had roughly $4 million more -- not that I calculated it or anything? Yeah, that's all true. But we'll find a way. I'm very happy with the way we ended the season."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.