It wasn't all that long ago that it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Phillies were going to end up with the No. 1 pick in next year's MLB Draft.
At the All-Star Break, the Phils were 9 1/2 games clear of the next closest team for the worst record in baseball. For all the world, it seemed certain the Phils were going to finish with baseball's worst record and get that top overall pick.
Here is where things stand heading into Monday's games.
The Marlins and Phillies are now in a flat-footed tie for the worst record in the league. Of course, since the Break, the Phillies have gone 23-17, a radical improvement over their pre-break record of 29-62. In fact, of all the teams battling for the worst overall record in baseball, only the Phils have been over .500 since the All-Star Break.
The rest of the league is trying to tunnel their way to the bottom of the pack as quickly as they can, while the Phils continue to win games against teams not named the New York Mets.
And as we look forward to the last month of the season, it doesn't appear as if the Phils will have the best shot to finish with the worst overall record, seeing as how they play in one of the worst divisions in baseball. Below are the combined winning percentages of the opponents of all the teams fighting for that No. 1 overall pick.
In September, teams play mostly teams from within their own division, which explains the low opponents' winning percentage for the three NL East squads, the Phils (.479), Marlins (.467) and Braves (.493). The Phillies play three winning teams (two series against the Mets, one against the Cubs, and two against the Nationals), the Marlins play two (two series against the Mets, and two against the Nats), while the Braves play four (two against the Nats, two against the Mets, one against the Blue Jays and one against the Cardinals).
The Rockies play in the tougher NL West, and play against five teams with winning records, including the Giants twice, the Dodgers twice, and the Pirates once. They also have to play the tough Diamondbacks a couple times as well.
But the teams most likely to finish the year in a death spiral are the two at the bottom of the NL Central, the Reds and Brewers. The winning percentage of the Reds' opponents for the rest of the season, .559, is the highest. They must play the Cubs twice, the Pirates twice, and the Cardinals twice, not to mention a series against the Giants thrown in there as well. The Brewers must face the Pirates twice, the Cardinals twice, and the Cubs twice as well.
Of course, Fangraphs has the rest of the season all mapped out, and here are their predicted finishes, based on records heading into Monday.
So they still have the Phils finishing with the worst record in the league, although I'm not exactly sure how their electronic computer machines are figuring that one out.
The good news is, winning now is better anyway. There isn't a stud to be taken at the top of the draft, and watching a team lose every night sucks. So, enjoy the winning and let the other bottom feeders eat themselves alive racing to the bottom.
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