At 55-101, the Miami Marlins have assured themselves that they won’t finish with a franchise-worst record for their efforts in 2019.
The 1998 Florida Marlins will continue to hold the title of “worst-ever” season for the franchise. A 54-108 mark for a .333 winning percentage. The Miami Marlins 8-4 victory over the on-life-support New York Mets last night clinched this team’s fate as “the second worst ever Miami Marlins performance.” Their third worst season will (for now at least) remain their 62-100 mark set in 2013.
The Miami Marlins have already mathematically clinched the worst record in the National League this season. The second-to-last Pittsburgh Pirates are currently 65-91, and can’t lose more than 97 games.
Over in the American League is where things get interesting for these Miami Marlins. Although the Detroit Tigers, at 46-109 haven’t “clinched” the first spot yet, they cannot finish better than the Miami Marlins in terms of wins and losses.
The Marlins could still technically finish anywhere from second through fourth in the 2020 MLB Amateur Entry Draft. At 51-106, the Baltimore Orioles would have to go on an absolute tear through their final five games to eclipse the Miami Marlins. At 57-100, the Kansas City Royals are still in play. If the season were to end today, the Marlins would pick third overall. However, if the Royals lose most of their remaining games and the Marlins win most of theirs, the Fish would pick fourth for the second consecutive season.
At this point of the season, how important, really, are wins and losses to a team well on the outside looking in? How much better is a second overall pick than a fourth overall pick. We actually have data that tells us, courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
The second overall pick in the draft, from 1965 through 2016, has failed to produce a major leaguer five times (including current Miami Marlins prospect Tyler Kolek). That’s a success rate of 47-in-52, or 90.4 percent. The group holds an average WAR of 15.2.
The third pick has sent 43-of-51 from the drafts of 1965 through 2015. The last four number three overall selections are still hopeful. That 84.3 percent success rate is still robust enough to nearly guarantee an appearance at baseball’s top level. Average WAR for the “3 Club” is 13.7.
The fourth overall choice has an identical success rate to the third overall pick, at 84.3 percent, with a 13.0 average career WAR.
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Is it advisable for the Miami Marlins to “tank” the last few games for what amounts to maybe 0.7 WAR? Wouldn’t eliminating the New York Mets from the playoff hunt be more satisfying? Really though, that really doesn’t matter. Don Mattingly will NEVER try NOT to win. That’s just ludicrous.
So the Miami Marlins were bad this year, really bad, but not quite historically bad. That’s the thing about baseball though. Even when your team is the worst in the entire league, you’ll still have reason to celebrate victory on average at least twice a week during the season. Fifty-five times this year so far, we’ve been able to hold our heads high, at least for a little while.
After another six games are in the books, we’ll be holding our breath until mid-February for a little action. Enjoy this last week of Miami Marlins baseball. Winter is nearly here.