[caption id="attachment_5241" align="aligncenter" width="359"]Houston Astros October 2012 Facebook.com/Astros[/caption]

With the 2012 season winding down, a lot of MLB teams can’t wait for the season to end. The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians have been the five worst teams in baseball this season.

While their seasons have all been disappointing and hard to watch, these teams will possess the most valuable picks in the 2013 Amateur draft. Here’s a look at how these teams have struggled and where they are projected to pick in the draft.

5. Cleveland Indians

[caption id="attachment_5242" align="aligncenter" width="590"]Cleveland Indians October 2012 Facebook.com/Indians[/caption]

Baseball in Cleveland took a huge step back in 2012. Coming off of an 80-82 season, Cleveland was let down by an underperforming pitching staff. With Detroit Tigers and Chicago leading the AL Central, Cleveland was out of the pennant race for the better part of the year. The stretch that did them in was the month of August, in which Cleveland was 5-24.

Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball just two years ago. Now, the Indians will be lucky if they can manage to get the performances of a No. 4 starter out of him.

There have been many areas in which he has been less dominant than before but they all trace back to that his previous velocity and nasty stuff just aren’t there anymore.

Perhaps the problems with Jimenez have to do with his age and the toll that throwing so many innings when he was younger took. Either way, by relying on Jimenez and his 5.40 ERA this season, the Indians weren’t putting themselves in a better place to contend.

In addition to his struggles, Cleveland was also held back by inconsistency from their bullpen, a youthful offense, and by playing some of the worst defense in the American League. In 2011, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith anchored the Cleveland bullpen.

This season, Cleveland had those same three pitchers but different results. Cleveland was led offensively mostly by Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, neither of which have hit their supposed “prime years” yet. That’s not to say they both didn’t have pretty awesome seasons, they just shouldn’t be that heavily depended upon at such a young age.

Cleveland is currently projected to have the fifth pick in the upcoming 2013 MLB Amateur draft. It’s way too early to begin to project players that will be drafted in that area but Austin Meadows is one name to store away for the fifth pick.

4. Minnesota Twins

[caption id="attachment_5243" align="aligncenter" width="590"]Minnesota Twins October 2012 Facebook.com/Twins[/caption]

The Twins headed into Spring Training this season with a gloomy but optimistic view of the upcoming season. They wanted to find some quality starting pitchers this season while at the same time having an above-average offense. Well, it looks like Minnesota will head into 2013 with pretty much that same outlook.

By almost all accounts, the Twins had the worst pitching staff in baseball this year. Led by a very mediocre Scott Diamond, the Twins pitchers have only been worth 5.5 WAR, which is worst in baseball for the ’12 season.

Their best relief pitcher was probably Glen Perkins, who appeared in seventy games and posted a 3.17 FIP. If the Twins want to have any chance of being a .500 team in 2013, they are going to need to make some trades for starting pitching because there are no big-time starting pitching prospects quickly rising through the Twins’ minor league system.

Minnesota is now projected to have the fourth overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur draft. A high school catcher, Jeremy Martinez, could be a possible selection.

3. Colorado Rockies

[caption id="attachment_5244" align="aligncenter" width="445"]Colorado Rockies October 2012 Facebook.com/Rockies[/caption]

Despite playing in a NL West division that lacks a dominant division leader, Colorado has managed to lose the most games in their single-season franchise history. With a team ERA of 5.24 and an offense that ranks twenty-second in the majors in wRC+, Colorado has had a very rough season.

Anytime that ace of your pitching staff is Jeff Francis, your season likely hasn’t gone as planned. That’s not anything against Francis, as he can be a solid #3 starter at times. But the Rockies need to find an ace.

The good news is that with Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and Christian Friedrich, the Rockies have some interesting young pitching prospects that will be able to help them next year.

Colorado is projected to have the third pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur draft. Casually assuming Ryne Stanek and Mark Appel are both off the board, Colorado could a player like Karsten Whitson or Kris Bryant. Still, it is months too early to make a legitimate prediction.

2. Chicago Cubs

[caption id="attachment_5245" align="aligncenter" width="590"]Chicago Cubs October 2012 Facebook.com/Cubs[/caption]

In 2012, Chicago reached 100 losses for the first time since 1966. That statistic definitely surprises me because Chicago has had a lot of really bad teams since the sixties. Nonetheless, the 2012 Cubs were awful heading into the season, and got even worse when they traded away Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm at the trade deadline.

The good news for Chicago is that they have a great front office that knows its way around the game of baseball. Theo Epstein, Jaron Madison and Jed Hoyer have already made a few moves that look beneficial for Chicago’s long-term success. Even if Chicago isn’t winning many games in 2013, it won’t be too long before Wrigley Field is witnessing playoff baseball.

With the second pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur draft, the Cubs might go with the proven college pitcher from Stanford, Mark Appel.

1. Houston Astros

[caption id="attachment_5246" align="aligncenter" width="590"]Houston Astros Facebook.com/Astros[/caption]

There weren’t many safer bets in baseball heading into this season than placing money on the Astros to lose 100 games again. With players like Brian Bogusevic and J.D. Martinez getting over four hundred at bat’s, it will be a long time until we see another team as bad as the 2012 Houston Astros. They are now forty-two games behind the division leading Cincinnati Reds.

Houston’s pitching staff was led by Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles. Harrell had a breakout year, but wasn’t much more than a #4 starter. And he was their ace… Lyles, on the other hand, had higher expectations coming into the season which he failed to meet.

In twenty-five starts, Lyles posted a 4.51 FIP. Still, he is only twenty-one and he’ll have more opportunities with Houston next season. If you squint, the future is somewhat a little more bright for this young Astros’ pitching staff.

Despite the awful major league product, Houston is really on the right path. Jeff Luhnow has established himself as one of the best general managers in the game and he’s brought in smart people like Kevin Goldstein and Mike Fast.

With the early turnaround showing results in the minors, Houston is going to turn some of their top prospects into quality major leaguers in the next few years. Sure, a move to the AL West will hurt, but Houston shouldn’t shock anyone if they are contending in four to five years.

With the first pick in the 2013 Amateur draft, the Houston Astros select Ryne Stanek out of the University of Arkansas.


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