As you know, the Orioles had the worst record in the league last year at 47-115. And as you know, that got them a 1-1 in the draft this past June, with which they took the highly-touted Adley Rutschman.
Now this season it’s basically a three-team race for worst record in the league and Baltimore is once again one of the teams in that mix. For a rebuilding ball club, two consecutive years with the first overall pick would be welcomed. But still, that doesn’t mean the first player selected will be a sure thing.
Hypothetically, if the Orioles were to secure that first overall pick again for next year’s draft, it would incite more comparisons to GM Mike Elias’ former team the Astros, who had three consecutive number one overall picks from 2012-2014. In Houston’s case, they chose Carlos Correa, Mark Appel and Brady Aiken with those picks.
Their success was mixed. Correa is an excellent shortstop who’s had to deal with injuries a lot so far in his young career, but at 24-years-old he’s barely scratched the surface of what he can do. The other two number one picks did not turn out as well. Appel no longer plays baseball and Aiken did not sign.
So be careful what you wish for. The Orioles may do well with their recent 1-1 Rutschman and who knows, with another too if they get it. But only time will tell. There’s no draft in pro sports more unpredictable than Major League Baseball.
But with two months left in the season, it’s shaping up to be a close race for the worst record in baseball between two teams in the American League and one in the National League.
The Tigers have recently overtaken the Orioles for the worst record in the game. They are currently 32-72, which is good for a .308 winning percentage, and they’ve gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. Detroit has a -203 run differential, which is even worse than the O’s mark in that category (-181).
Right before the trade deadline yesterday, as non-contenders are known to do this time of the year, Detroit traded a couple of its better players in an effort to improve over the long haul. They sent their closer Shane Greene — who has a 1.18 ERA and 22 saves — to the Braves. And they moved one of their better hitters, Nick Castellanos (.273/.328/.462), to the Cubs.
The only other team in baseball right now with a winning percentage under .400, other than the Tigers and Orioles, is the Miami Marlins. They are currently 41-65 (.387) with a -101 run differential. In their past 10 games, the Marlins are 5-5. They were also very active at the trade deadline, as detailed by MLB Trade Rumors here.
The Marlins sent their closer Sergio Romo to the Twins, swapped promising young starter Zac Gallen for an infield prospect from the Diamondbacks, and traded a couple relievers — Nick Anderson and former starter Trevor Richards — to the Rays.
While the aforementioned teams made major moves to improve their club in the long haul yesterday, they also got weaker in the short term. The Orioles, by comparison, stood pat at the deadline, not counting the July 13 trade of Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox. By the way, the former Oriole starter has a 6.11 ERA three starts into his Boston career. Just wanted to throw that in there.
So the Birds still have their closer, Mychal Givens, arguably their best hitter, Trey Mancini, and multiple others who were rumored to be on the trading block. Plus the Orioles just finished up their best month of the season, going 12-12 for a .500 record in July. Overall, they are 36-71 (.336) with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games.
Now some like to buy into the conspiracy theory that the Orioles are tanking this year in order to get a better draft pick, like the NBA, but we’ll never really know for sure. If they were truly tanking though, one would think they would jettison anyone of value before the deadline. But they did not.
Regardless, the Orioles do not need to subtract in order to ensure a worse winning percentage. It may still happen anyway. But even if they do get another 1-1, there’s no guarantee that player will be better than say a number two or number three overall pick. But at least we have the leadership in place to make the right call no matter what the situation.