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Pirates clinch MLB's worst record and next year's No. 1 pick

Sep 29, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

Last night the Pirates won for just the 56th time this season and still managed to clinch the worst record in baseball. That and an 18th consecutive losing season is obviously the bad news. The good news is that they’ve also secured the No. 1 overall pick in next June’s draft.
Right now Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered the draft class’ top prospect, with UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole and TCU left-hander Matt Purke among those also in the mix as possible first selections.
During the current 18-year losing streak Pittsburgh has picked first overall twice, selecting Clemson right-hander Kris Benson in 1996 and Ball State right-hander Bryan Bullington in 2002. Both pitchers were sidetracked by major injuries and have combined to win just 71 career games, with Bullington contributing one victory to that total.
Rendon already has health-related question marks, as he’s recovering from a major ankle injury suffered in June. Asked to comment on whether Rendon was likely to be atop the Pirates’ draft board, general manager Neal Huntington said:

I’ll be able to give a lot more information about who we take No. 1 in the country after we take him. There’s a good list of guys available, some college arms, and there could be some college bats. Prior to the injury, Rendon’s a very interesting player. We’ve got to see where he is post-injury.

Also of note is that the Pirates already have their “third baseman of the future” in Pedro Alvarez, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Of course, one of them could always move to first base and … well, I guess having to figure that out would qualify as a nice problem for the Pirates to have.

  1. TKeefe - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    The smart move is Luck … but they’ll probably draft Locker.
    Wait, wait, wait — I thought Littlefield was still running things. My bad. Carry on.

  2. Kung - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    From what I’ve read, Alvarez will have to move to 1B eventually anyways – nobody thinks he’ll stick at 3B.

  3. Utley's hair - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Damn…they even BACKED IN to the worst record? They couldn’t just suck it up and earn the “honor”?

    Was there champagne sprayed in the clubhouse, or just a lot of fifths and flasks?

  4. linfield - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Hey, the Phillies had only one winning season from 1918-1948, and have won only two world titles. When you realistically compare both franchises from day one, the Pirates are still better.

  5. Utley's hair - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    And where did I say that the Phightins have been historically better? I was making a comment on last night…and this season. The Phils are the only franchise (so far) in pro sports to have lost 10,000+ games. And I feel that I’ve seen my fair share of them in the last 25+ years. So, no, I am not arguing that the Phils have been historically better. That would be an asinine assertion. Over the last 10 years? Yes, they have been better. But, again, I did not mention franchise history up there.

  6. The Steve Jeltz Experiment - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    No Phillies fan would give up “Worst Franchise Ever” historical bragging rights. We earned it. But the Pirates seem to be doing yeoman’s work in an effort to challenge the Phils’ streak of futility from post-WWI through the end of WWII. It’s a good thing the Phillies were so awful for so long that the Pirates are only a little more than halfway there.

  7. yankeesgameday - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Explain to me why any player talented enough to be the number one overall pick would ever allow himself to be drafted byt the Pirates? All you have to say ahead of time is that there is no way on God’s green Earth that you would ever sign a contract with them even if drafted so they should just move on and pick someone else.
    The last thing I would want as a top five prospect is to be forced to spend a year or two in the minors and then another five years playing for Pittsburgh before I could go be signed by a real baseball team.
    Losing so pathetically for the first several years of your career is not what you worked your entire life for just so you can say that you are the number one overall pick.
    I’d be terrified if I were one of those guys mentioned.

  8. Giant Space Ants - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    ???

  9. Utley's hair - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    So…Strasburg and the Gnats…?

    Don’t you think a certain amount of machismo or self importance–insofar as being the cornerstone around which a franchise will be rebuilt–plays a part here, too?

  10. yankeesgameday - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    But the Pirates don’t rebuild. They fail to field a full team of major leaguers who are good enough to have a winning record for 18 straight years. Forget about making the playoffs here, they haven’t won even 1 more game than they have lost for close to two decades. Who in their right mind would want to be a part of something like that?
    John Elway refused to play for the Colts. Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers. And no one who could go anywhere else should ever allow themselves to play for the Pirates.
    I just don’t get it.

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