The Race For Last Place

Prospects and draft picks are becoming things of focus around Major League Baseball over the last few years.  That mentality can turn the world, or at least the standings, upside down.

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Our friends over at MLBTradeRumors.com have introduced their next, great innovative tool for your use – Reverse Standings.

The reverse standings, which are updated automatically each morning, serve as a projection of the 2014 amateur draft order.  – from MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes

With this season’s hopes squarely out of reach, many teams take the time to evaluate their talent, bring young players to the big club to see how they fare, and to make subtle changes that will go into effect the following season.  The front office turns their attention to scouting and the following year’s draft, learning where they will pick and who they believe will be available.

The formula is simple, the worst team in baseball from the previous season picks first.  The draft proceeds up the ladder until the best team from the previous season picks last.  Draft picks are not eligible to be traded, so it holds a very simple result – finish dead last and you get first pick.

Should the season end today, the Houston Astros have that pick.  Not very surprising given the current state of the franchise.  Noteworthy, however, is that they also had the first pick in the last two drafts.  They are one of only two teams to secure the first pick in consecutive drafts, the Washington Nationals did it as well in 2009 and 2010.  The Nationals used those picks to secure Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, showing that a few good drafts can change the direction of a franchise quickly.  Should they hold on and “win” the first pick for next year, the Astros will become the first team in history to do so for three consecutive seasons.  The last two seasons, they have used the first overall pick to choose Carlos Correa and Mark Appel.

The Astros will also join “elite” company, becoming only the third team in the history of the draft to pick first in five drafts, joining the San Diego Padres and New York Mets with that distinction.  Of the 22 franchises that have picked first since the draft was instituted in 1965, none have more than five picks.  Currently, the Astros have chosen first four times, tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners at that level.

Congrats, Houston, you are well on your way to being the best at being the worst.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

Author: Bill Ivie

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