In another lost season in LoDo, the Rockies aren’t losing enough for their own good.
That means Colorado, which has the No. 8 overall pick in next month’s 2021 draft, isn’t currently in line for the top pick in the 2022 draft. Thus, the Rockies — in desperate need of an influx of high-grade prospects in order to rebuild — are playing themselves out of a chance at the class’s generational prospect, Elijah Green.
The outfielder is a five-tool phenom from IMG Academy who has drawn comparisons to Jo Adell and Ronald Acuna Jr. He’s already producing triple-digit exit velocities at bat and his power, speed and glove have him projecting as the likely No. 1 pick.
Meanwhile, the draft’s top pitcher (or couple pitchers) is likely to already be taken when Colorado picks if the current draft order holds and the Rockies continue to offset their historically bad road performance (5-27) with almost playoff-worthy play at Coors Field (25-14).
So where does that leave Colorado?
Entering the weekend, the Rockies hold the seventh pick in the 2022 draft. Because MLB draft picks cannot be traded, the only way Colorado can move up the board in the second half of the season is to pick up the losing and surpass Arizona, Baltimore, Texas, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Detroit in this summer’s tankathon.
Plus, the ineptitude of Miami, Kansas City and even recent champion Washington — all of whom are currently faring only slightly better in the standings than Colorado — can’t be discounted. Here’s a look at the absolute disasters in baseball, with a handicap on their potential to tank in the second half of 2021.
Diamondbacks — Arizona’s lost a franchise-record 15 games in a row, including an MLB-record 24 straight road defeats. That, plus MLB’s worst pitching, equals the awfulness necessary to secure Green. Mark the Snakes down as the Vegas favorite.
Orioles — Baltimore really knows how to flounder in the second half in order to rise up the draft board. But the habitual deadline sellers also have southpaw John Means, who gives them a chance to win every fifth day.
Rangers — The AL West cellar-dwellers have a pitching staff that is mediocre on a good day combined with an inept offense which has already been no-hit twice this year. Count the Rangers as serious tankathon contenders.
Pirates — Owners of this year’s No. 1 pick, Pittsburgh has one of the major’s worst offenses and remains a franchise without direction. The Pirates also have the worst run differential in the majors at -100.
Twins — The wheels have fallen off in Minnesota for the two-time defending AL Central division champs in 2021’s most unintentional tank. But if water finds its level, the Twins won’t be as bad in the second half.
Tigers — Detroit had the No. 1 pick in two of the last three drafts, but like the Rockies, they are showing just enough flashes of life this year to evade the divisional cellar and a shot at a top-five pick.
Rockies — Colorado has never had a No. 1 overall pick in its 29-year history (the highest was No. 2 in 1996, spent on bust right-hander Greg Reynolds). And with their confidence in LoDo in 2021, the streak will continue.
Marlins — After Don Mattingly led the Marlins to the playoffs last year, Miami’s fallen back to earth, although they are playing above .500 at home (16-14) and have MLB’s seventh-best pitching with a 3.50 ERA.
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