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Tank Race Tuesday: Tigers on the verge of the first pick in 2020

With less than a week remaining in the season, there is still room for a shakeup of baseball’s bottom five teams.

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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 will tolerate plenty of 2019 losses if it means selecting near the top of the 2020 MLB Draft and maximizing their 2020-21 international bonus pool. Fish Stripes will be monitoring this “race” for you (and creating new merch inspired by it).

FanGraphs ran performance projections for every team prior to Opening Day, but also continues to provide rest-of-season projections as the real games get played. See below for details regarding the five worst teams, including the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, and Blue Jays entering Tuesday.

Tigers

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 46-109, minus-314

2019 projected record and run differential: 49-113, minus-320

Remaining schedule: 9/24-9/26 vs. Twins, 9/27-9/29 at White Sox (includes double-header 9/27)

Detroit went 1-5 over the last week, and with a full five-game lead over the Orioles, look like they will be the winners of Tank Race 2019 and the recipients of the top amateur draft pick in 2020.

Orioles

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 51-106, minus-265

2019 projected record and run differential: 53-109, minus-270

Remaining schedule: 9/24-9/25 at Blue Jays, 9/27-9/29 at Red Sox

The Orioles went 2-5 and just aren’t losing enough to catch the Tigers. Currently 4.5 games up on the Marlins, the O’s seem to have the second pick in 2020 on lockdown.

Marlins

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 55-101, minus-178

2019 projected record and run differential: 57-105, minus-189

Upcoming schedule: 9/24-9/26 at Mets, 9/27-9/29 at Phillies

The Fish crossed the 100-loss threshold despite a 3-3 week. Some things are just inevitable.

Royals

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 57-100, minus-169

2019 projected record and run differential: 59-103, minus-173

Remaining schedule: 9/24-9/25 vs. Braves, 9/27-9/29 vs. Twins

The Royals lost five of six to join the three teams ahead of them in the Tank Race as 100-loss teams. Given their upcoming schedule, they could pass the Marlins for third place this week.

Blue Jays

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 64-93, minus-100

2019 projected record and run differential: 66-96, minus-103

Remaining schedule: 9/24-9/25 vs. Orioles, 9/27-9/29 vs. Rays

The Jays won five of their last seven, thanks almost entirely to beating the Orioles four times over the past week. If the trend continues, the Pirates could slide into fifth before season’s end as Toronto holds just a 1.5-game advantage.