D-backs to pick first in 2015 First-Year Player Draft

Astros to make second, fifth picks after not signing Aiken from 2014 Draft

D-backs to pick first in 2015 First-Year Player Draft

This year didn't turn out anywhere close to as well as the D-backs might have hoped. Their playoff aspirations dissipated quickly after a 5-18 start, and general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson both lost their jobs before the season ended.

Arizona did get a nice consolation prize after finishing 2014 with a 64-98 record, its worst in a decade. By virtue of finishing with MLB's lowest winning percentage (.395), the D-backs received the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. The only other time they had the top choice was in 2005, when they selected Justin Upton.

The Astros had owned the No. 1 pick in the previous three Drafts, an unprecedented run. They'll make history again in the 2015 Draft, as they have a higher pair of choices than any club ever. Houston has the No. 2 selection (compensation for not signing Brady Aiken, the No. 1 pick in 2014) and the No. 5 choice (by virtue of having baseball's fourth-worst record this season).

2015 Draft Order
Draft order based on reverse of 2014 regular-season standings; 2013 records used to break ties.
Pick Team W L
1 D-backs 64 98
2 Astros Comp pick
3 Rockies 66 96
4 Rangers 67 95
5 Astros 70 92
6 Twins 70 92
7 Red Sox 71 91
8 White Sox 73 89
9 Cubs 73 89
10 Phillies 73 89
11 Reds 76 86
12 Marlins 77 85
13 Padres 77 85
14 Rays 77 85
15 Mets 79 83
16 Braves 79 83
17 Brewers 82 80
18 Blue Jays 83 79
19 Yankees 84 78
20 Indians 85 77
21 Mariners 87 75
22 Giants 88 74
23 Pirates 88 74
24 Athletics 88 74
25 Royals 89 73
26 Tigers 90 72
27 Cardinals 90 72
28 Dodgers 94 68
29 Orioles 96 66
30 Nationals 96 66
31 Angels 98 64

Arizona set the previous standard for the earliest pair of selections in 2011, when it drafted Trevor Bauer at No. 3 and Archie Bradley at No. 7. The Nationals also had two top 10 picks in 2009, taking Stephen Strasburg at No. 1 and Drew Storen at No. 9.

There's no clear-cut favorite for the No. 1 choice in 2015 at this point, though Duke right-hander Michael Matuella is the front-runner. Other candidates include Lake Mary (Fla.) High shortstop Brendan Rodgers and Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) outfielder Dazmon Cameron.

As usual, free-agent compensation will create several changes in the first-round Draft order between now and next June. Teams have until five days after the end of the World Series to make a qualifying offer (one year at the average of the top 125 salaries in 2014, roughly $14 million) to their free agents. If a club loses a free agent after giving him a qualifying offer, it will get a pick at the end of the first round as compensation.

A team that signs a free agent with a qualifying offer will lose its first-rounder, unless it falls among the first 11 picks (the top 10 regular choices, plus the Astros' selection for Aiken). That's a change from the first three years of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, when rules protected only the top 10 picks (regardless of whether they included compensation choices). Rather than forfeit a protected selection, a club would lose its highest unprotected pick.

A year ago, 13 players received qualifying offers. All of them declined those offers and nine of them changed teams before the 2014 Draft.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.