In this season for the Houston Astros, we have 48 games left before the merciful end of things. As the Astros sit with worst record in the majors, the big question is whether they will hold onto it for the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.
If they do, it'd be a bit of fortuitous timing, since the Astros last had that pick 20 years previously. The only time Houston had the No. 1 overall pick was in 1992 after a disastrous '91 season. But, if we look at where Houston was in '91 through 114 games (which is where this current Houston team sits), they did not hold the worst record in baseball. In fact, because of a nine-game winning streak a few games earlier, Houston had the fourth-worst record in the majors and were 11 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians for that first pitch. Houston collapsed from there, however, winning just 17 of their last 31 games, including a 10-18 record in September.
The Astros never caught the Indians for the worst record in baseball, but they didn't have to. See, back then, the two leagues alternated the No. 1 overall pick, with the worst team in the National League guaranteed the top spot. So, all Houston had to do was catch Montreal for the worst record in the NL, which they did on Sept. 1.
This season, obviously, the Astros have been much, much worse, holding the worst record in either league since July. Looking at Cool Standings, there is only one team with a chance to lose 100 games other than Houston. That's the Baltimore Orioles, who are projected to lose 100 games. Baltimore is still seven games ahead of Houston in the standings, meaning the Astros will have to start winning many more games than they have to get caught.
Basically, it's going to take a big finishing kick by the Astros for any team to catch Houston for that first overall pick. Unfortunately, there isn't a Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg in next year's draft class. That's bad news for Houston and new owner Jim Crane.