With the MLB regular season set to conclude on September 27, new teams are clinching playoff berths almost every day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some teams are locked into a race for last place in the league. While the draft order could be determined in some other way, with a potential combination of 2019 and 2020 records, owners have stated they expect a normal worst-to-first draft order. With Kumar Rocker, the most hyped pitching prospect in years, projected to be the first pick, the five teams in contention for last should be in full-on tank mode.
Everyone knew the Pirates would be bad in 2020. Being 19 games under .500 with a .306 winning percentage, Pittsburgh is the clear favorite for the number one pick. In the rest of their games, the Pirates face the Cardinals (.478), Cubs (.600), and Indians (.540). None of these teams are bad and all are competing for playoff spots and seeding. All the remaining games for Pittsburgh will be tough battles and coming into the final week with a previous “Last-10” record of 2-8 in their last 10 games, a last-place finish for Pittsburgh is very likely.
The Rangers are currently second to last in the standings. At 2.5 games back of the Pirates, they still have a shot. Another interesting thing to watch for Texas is their chase of the worst winning percentage in Rangers history. That worst season came in 1972 with a .351 winning percentage. Currently, the Rangers have a .360 mark. The reason they might struggle to “pass” the Pirates is their schedule. The Pirates face the Angels, Diamondbacks, and Astros. Currently, the Astros are the best of the group but are only a .500 ball club. With the Rangers at 5-5 in their last 10, Texas may have to hope for a bottom-three finish.
Boston Red Sox
Just two years ago, the Red Sox won 108 games and the World Series in one of their greatest seasons of all time. Now, due to a complete lack of any pitching whatsoever, they are among the worst in baseball. They are only three games ahead of the Pirates with an abysmal .373 winning percentage. While the Sox do play the Orioles three times down the stretch, they also face the Braves and the red-hot Yankees, giving them a small chance to catch the Pirates.
The Diamondbacks, while even with the Red Sox, have less of a chance at a last-place finish. They face the Astros, Rangers, and Rockies, all of whom are under .500. Arizona is also better than the Pirates, Rangers, and Sox with a run differential of more than 30 better than the other teams. If things go their way, a losing streak is possible, but it is definitely unlikely.
The Nationals are the last team that has a real shot at last place. Despite winning the World Series last year, they seem to have gone off a cliff. This could be due to some bad luck as their -24 run differential should not yield their awful record. Washington is four games ahead of Pittsburgh and will face the middle three teams in the NL East. A bad finish is possible, but it will be tough to be worse than the other four teams at the bottom.
Previously, my predictions have not aged well, but I’ll take a shot at predicting the final records of these teams.
26. Washington Nationals: 23-37
27. Texas Rangers: 22-38
28. Arizona Diamondbacks: 21-39
29. Boston Red Sox: 21-39
30. Pittsburgh Pirates: 17-43
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