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Tank Race Tuesday: The Race is Over

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The results are in: the Tigers are the worst team in baseball.

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The Marlins still yearn for more cheap, controllable, high-upside talent to elevate their farm system to an elite level and lay the foundation for sustainable success. Stinking against major league competition this season is a critical step in that process. We don’t need to call it “tanking,” but let’s just say—behind closed doors—Miami’s front office have tolerated plenty of 2019 losses in the name of selecting near the top of the 2020 MLB Draft and maximizing their 2020-21 international bonus pool. Fish Stripes has monitored this “race” for you all season (as well as created new merch inspired by it).

FanGraphs ran performance projections for every team prior to Opening Day, but also provided rest-of-season projections as the season wore on. See below for details regarding 2019’s five worst teams, including the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, and Blue Jays.

The “Winners”: the Detroit Tigers

2019 final record and run differential: 47-114, minus-333

This is a direct quote from the beginning of the prior iteration of Tank Race, but still applicable this time around: “Detroit went 1-5 over the last week.” Fittingly, the Tigers also had the worst run differential in the game by a whopping 81 runs. They ended up beating the Orioles by 6.5 games and will get the no. 1-overall pick next year.

The First Runners-Up: the Baltimore Orioles

2019 final record and run differential: 54-108, minus-252

The Orioles closed out the season with a winning week at 3-2. They finished three games ahead of our favorite team.

Third Place: the Miami Marlins

2019 final record and run differential: 57-105, minus-193

The Fish finished their year with a 2-4 final week and were actually 6.5 games worse than 2018’s 53-98 record. The bright side is they get the third pick in next year’s draft as the rebuild continues.

Fourth Place: the Kansas City Royals

2019 final record and run differential: 59-103, minus-178

The Royals lost three of their last five, coming just one win shy of the 60-win plateau. After getting the first-overall pick in 2019, they’ll be in the fourth slot next year.

Fifth Place: the Toronto Blue Jays

2019 final record and run differential: 67-95, minus-102

The Jays won three of their last five games of the year and actually had a better final run differential than the Mariners, Pirates, Padres, Rockies, and White Sox, the teams immediately after Toronto in the Tank Race standings, along with the Angels.

And that’s a wrap on the Race! Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed following along this year with this tongue-in-cheek series. Thanks for reading.