The 10 worst MLB teams to bet on over the past 20 years
When the MLB season will begin and in what form are still uncertainties. While we wait to see what transpires, we decided to take a look at some of the worst teams to bet on in recent history.
Here are the teams with the most units lost in a season over the past 20 years (based on 1 unit bets).
No. 1: 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks (53.26 units lost)
How does a team just two years removed from a world championship, with Cy Young runner-up Randy Johnson and emerging stud Brandon Webb at the top of its rotation, lose 111 games — a whopping 33 more defeats than it had the year before? Well, Arizona’s four other pitchers with at least 10 starts (Casey Fossum, Steve Sparks, Casey Daigle and Edgar Gonzalez) went 9-34 with a 6.86 ERA over 65 starts. Plus, the offense was last in the National League in runs and OPS and second to last in home runs, and the D-backs made a league-high 139 errors.
No. 2: 2018 Baltimore Orioles (51.78)
Coming off a 75-win season, there weren’t high expectations for the ’18 Orioles. But finishing 61 games out of first place isn’t your garden variety lousy season. Baltimore’s pitching was only marginally worse in 2018 than it had been the year before, but the offense bottomed out, going from middle of the pack to dead last in the American League in runs, batting average and OBP. Chris Davis epitomized the O’s struggles, with a slash line of .168/.243/.296 and 192 strikeouts as compared to just 139 total bases.
No. 3: 2003 Detroit Tigers (45.01)
At 43-119, the 2003 Tigers had the worst record in baseball since 1962 and the sixth worst since 1900. After Detroit lost 106 games the year before, it was hard to imagine a 13-game drop, but that’s what Motown got. Needless to say, the Tigers were dreadful in all phases of the game, as their “top” five starters had a collective 5.50 ERA and their offense was last in the league in virtually every category. Detroit started the season 1-17, then had stretches of 2-20, 2-17 and 1-15 as the season went on. Ugh.
No. 4: 2019 Tigers (41.16)
The 2019 Tigers went 47-114 and passed the Orioles as baseball’s top tanker, with an anemic offense that was last in the AL in runs, homers and OPS (among other things). The only player with an OPS+ above the break-even point of 100 was Nicholas Castellanos, who was dealt away at the July trade deadline.
No. 5: 2010 Seattle Mariners (35.51)
Don’t blame the pitching staff for the 24-game drop in the Mariners’ record in 2010. Led by Felix Hernandez, Seattle had the third-best ERA in the AL. But the offense? Oy. The Mariners scored 100 fewer runs than any other AL team and had an OPS of .637, the only AL team below .700.
No. 6: 2002 Chicago Cubs (33.90)
Sandwiched between 88-win seasons, the 2002 Cubs were just 67-95 and should have been better. Based on run differential, Chicago should have won 76 games, the biggest disparity in baseball that year. One-run games were a particular problem, as the Cubs were 18-36 in those affairs for a .333 winning percentage, but they had a .454 winning percentage (49-59) otherwise. The bullpen had a 4.92 ERA and blew more saves (25) than it converted (23).
No. 7: 2011 Houston Astros (33.11)
This was the first of three 100-loss seasons that set the stage for Houston’s massive rebuild that eventually paid off over the second half of the decade. The wheels fell off during a 10-36 midseason stretch. The Astros had a punchless lineup without a 20-homer hitter and that was fourth in the NL in team batting average but 13th in OPS. And the pitching was no better: last in the NL in ERA, saves and HR allowed.
No. 8: 2008 San Diego Padres (31.82)
The 2008 Padres had a little pop — with three solid hitters in Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles and Jody Gerut as well as a legit ace in defending Cy Young winner Jake Peavy — but not a whole lot else. The year before, San Diego led the league in ERA and won 89 games, but in 2008 the Padres dropped to 10th in ERA and posted just 63 wins.
No. 9: 2012 Astros (31.62)
As with the 2011 edition, the Astros were in full tank mode in 2012, and a lost season went way off the tracks with an 8-49 stretch over July and August. Fourth outfielder Justin Maxwell led the team in home runs with 18, with only Jed Lowrie (16) and a yet-to-emerge J.D. Martinez (11) joining him in double figures. The top starter was 27-year-old rookie Lucas Harrell.
No. 10: 2008 Mariners (31.20)
In 2007, the Mariners won 88 games; in 2009, they won 85. But in between, they were 61-101 in a season when nothing went right. They suffered 11 walk-off losses and 12 shutouts. Fortunately for Seattle, Felix Hernandez would embark on his seven-year run of dominance the next season, giving fans something to root for.
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