The MLB season is still on hold, so in the meantime, we thought we'd take a look at each team's worst betting season over the past 20 years (based on one-unit bets).
Here are the worst betting seasons for each team from the past 20 years, courtesy of research from ESPN Stats & Information.
American League East
2018: -51.78 betting units
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 was the year before, but the offense bottomed out, going from middle of the pack to dead last in the AL in runs, batting average and OBP. Chris Davis epitomized the Orioles' struggles, with a slash line of .168/.243/.296, 192 strikeouts and just 139 total bases for what was the worst team in terms of betting units lost in the past two decades.
It won't take Red Sox fans long to figure out the worst Red Sox team of the past 20 years. After 10 consecutive seasons of 86-plus wins, including two world titles, everything went wrong in 2012, as the Red Sox had their worst season since 1965 and finished last in the division for the first time since 1992. Boston entered August above .500, but after a rough start to the month, the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers in a salary dump, lost 12 of the final 13 games and fired manager Bobby Valentine after one season. If you bet all Red Sox that year, you finished almost 30 units under. A year later, the Sox were World Series champs again.
The Yankees lost 15 of their final 18 regular-season games, including the last seven, and were almost 14 betting units under. How did their season end? With their 26th World Series title, of course. The Yankees won the AL East with an 87-74 record, and their .540 winning percentage was the worst of any playoff qualifier that season. It didn't matter come the postseason, as the Yankees won the Subway Series with the Mets in five games. Bernie Williams had a career-high 30 home runs and 121 RBIs, and Andy Pettitte won 19 games for a rotation that also featured Roger Clemens.
The Rays lost 62 of their final 100 games to finish 68-94, their worst record since 2007. Only the Twins finished with a worse record in the AL (59-103). The Rays, who dropped 24 of 27 games heading into the All-Star break, finished 25 games out of first in the AL East and 16 games back of the fourth-place Yankees in the division. Evan Longoria led Tampa with 36 home runs and 98 RBIs, and shortstop Brad Miller had a career year with 30 homers and 81 RBIs, but the Rays were losers for bettors.
The Blue Jays finished last in the AL East at 67-94, their worst record since 1980. Injuries played a big role, as All-Stars Roy Halladay, Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells all missed time. Manager Carlos Tosca was fired in August and replaced by John Gibbons, and the Jays finished almost 17 betting units under.
American League Central
The summer of 2013 was not a kind one to the city of Chicago. While the Cubbies on the North Side struggled to a 96-loss campaign, the White Sox were even worse, going 63-99, their worst season since 1970. The offense was dead last at 3.69 runs per game, and only one starter managed a winning record (Jose Quintana 9-7) as the franchise cost bettors more than 30 units during the season.
Two years removed from blowing a 3-1 series lead in the 2007 ALCS to the Red Sox, the Indians hit rock-bottom with a 65-win campaign that was the final season for manager Eric Wedge. The 97 losses were their most since 1981, with good reason. The top hitter was Shin-Soo Choo with 20 HRs, and only David Huff reached double-digit wins on the pitching staff. The team finished down 27 units on the season.
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 season 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.
There are a lot of bad Royals seasons to look at over the past 20 seasons (15 losing seasons and six 100-loss seasons), but the 2004 one is where you go to find the least profitable squad of the past 20 seasons. The 58-win team had a league-worst 5.15 ERA and was near the bottom of most offensive categories. It's no surprise that the Royals cost bettors 25 units over the course of the season.
Coming off a surprising 83-win campaign, things turned sour again for the Twins, who had the worst record in the majors and their most losses (103) since they relocated to Minnesota in 1961. They lost their first nine games and remained in last place in the AL Central all season. Brian Dozier had a huge season, with 42 home runs and 99 RBIs, but the Twins finished 48.63 betting units worse than in the prior season.
American League West
This was the first of three 100-loss seasons that set the stage for Houston's massive rebuild that paid off in the latter 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 were fourth in the NL in team batting average but 13th in OPS. The pitching was no better: last in the NL in ERA, saves and home runs allowed.
Mike Trout slashed .291/.438/.645 with a career-best 45 home runs, 104 RBIs and 110 runs scored in 134 games while leading the AL in on-base percentage and slugging percentage en route to his third MVP award, but the Angels went just 72-90 and missed the postseason for the fifth straight year. The Angels also had to deal with the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs in Texas before a series with the Rangers.
The A's posted the worst record in the American League (68-94) and traded Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto. Josh Reddick was the only player on the team to reach 20 home runs, and his 77 RBIs also were a club high. Sonny Gray was a bright spot on an otherwise lackluster pitching staff. Gray tossed 208 innings and went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA for an A's team that finished almost 25 units under.
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 American League. But the offense? Oy. The Mariners scored 100 fewer runs than any other AL team and had an OPS of .637, making them the only AL team below .700. Bettors backing Seattle finished 35 units down.
Juan Gonzalez was traded to the Tigers in the offseason, and the Rangers went a disappointing 71-91, finishing in last place in the AL West and 21 units under. The Rangers did pull off one of the most significant trades in franchise history when they sent Esteban Loaiza to the Blue Jays in exchange for Darwin Cubillán and Michael Young. Young eventually retired as the Rangers' career leader in games played (1,823), at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), hits (2,230), doubles (415) and triples (55). In 2000, Rafael Palmeiro hit 39 home runs and drove in 120 runs, and Pudge Rodriguez, despite playing only 91 games, hit .347 with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs.
National League East
After nearly two decades of dominance, the Braves posted their worst record (72-90) since 1990, falling to fourth place in the NL East. In what was Hall of Famer Tom Glavine's last season, the Braves struggled to get any consistency from their staff, with seven pitchers making at least 13 starts and only Jair Jurrjens (13) and Tim Hudson (11) reaching double-digit wins.
The 2012 season is arguably the most disappointing in the 27-season history of this franchise. A splashy new stadium, a new manager (Ozzie Guillen), a name change to Miami, spending $200 million on free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, and the returns of Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson from 2011 injuries led many to believe that a big improvement on the 71-win 2011 season was on the horizon. After a disappointing start and a disastrous 2-14 run in June, the Marlins traded Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, saw Giancarlo Stanton head to the DL and faded to 69 wins, their worst total since 1999. After the season, management traded Reyes, Buehrle and Johnson, effectively starting all over again.
The Mets reached the World Series two years earlier, but nothing went right in 2017. Yoenis Cespedes played in only 81 games, Noah Syndergaard was limited to seven starts, and Matt Harvey's downward spiral continued for a rotation that had only one starter with an ERA under 4.71 (minimum 10 starts). The Mets finished 70-92 (27 games back in the NL East), and manager Terry Collins retired at the end of the season. Offense was sparse, and Jacob deGrom was the rare bright spot on the pitching staff, going 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 239 strikeouts in 201.1 innings.
The Phillies finished in last place in the NL East, at 65-97. The good news? In June, they drafted future star Chase Utley in the first round. Some more of the bad? They traded Curt Schilling to the Diamondbacks for Travis Lee, Vicente Padilla, Omar Daal and Nelson Figueroa. Schilling was the Cy Young runner-up in the NL his first two full seasons in Arizona. He won World Series titles in 2001 with Arizona and in 2004 and 2007 with Boston. Meanwhile, the Phillies of 2000 finished down 22 units on the season for bettors.
The Nationals finished with the worst record in baseball for the second straight season, going 59-103 in 2009. Things went so poorly that not even the uniforms were spared. In a mid-April game, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn donned jerseys that read "Natinals" on the front for three innings before the error was caught. Manager Manny Acta was fired during the season and replaced by Jim Riggleman. Washington finished down 25 units.
National League Central
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, marking the biggest win disparity in baseball that year. One-run games were a particular problem, as the Cubs were 18-36 in such games (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). That led to almost a 34-unit finish on the wrong side of the ledger.
Any one of the seasons from 2015 to 2018 could've been tagged as the worst in the past 20 years for the Reds, as they failed to reach 70 wins in any of them, marking the worst run for the franchise since the early 1950s. But it's the 2015 Reds that came close to 100 losses, with 98, and finished close to 30 units under for bettors. Not one starter reached double-digit wins, and the team ERA of 4.33 was one of the worst in the league.
The Brewers endured their only 100-loss season in 2002, going 56-106 for the worst record in the NL (only the Rays were worse in baseball, at 55-106). Some low-water marks included giving up four home runs and a record 19 total bases to the Dodgers' Shawn Green on May 23 and the 7-7 tie debacle in the All-Star Game at Miller Park that led to future All-Star winners getting home-field advantage for their league in the World Series (that practice ended after the 2015 season). Among the few highlights: The Brewers drafted Prince Fielder, who went on to a very productive career.
The Pirates went 57-105 for their 18th straight losing season and worst record since 1952. Ten of their wins came against the Cubs; the Pirates had no more than six wins against any other opponent. Pittsburgh was 40-41 at home but a horrendous 17-64 on the road. Andrew McCutchen had a down year, with just 16 home runs and 56 RBIs, and the pitching staff finished with the worst ERA (5.00) and fewest saves (31) in the National League. The team finished down 22 betting units.
The 2006 season was the first at the new Busch Stadium. It had its ups and downs but ended in the ultimate high for the Cardinals. After a 31-16 start, the Cards stumbled to an 83-78 record (they won 100 games the season before) that was just good enough for them to slip into the playoffs. The Cards made the most of it, advancing all the way to the World Series, where they beat the Tigers in five games for their 10th title in franchise history. Their .516 winning percentage is still the worst by a World Series winner. Like the 2000 Series champ Yankees, the Cards won the title despite a negative number for bettors.
National League West
How does a team, just three 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 losses than it had the season 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 in 65 starts. Plus, the offense was last in the NL in runs and OPS and second-to-last in home runs, and the D-backs made a league-high 139 errors.
The Rockies have had 14 losing seasons in the past 20 years, but the 2014 season was hardest for bettors. Colorado finished 66-96 with a team ERA of 4.84, worst in the majors by far. Corey Dickerson's first full season (.312/24/76) was the lone bright spot for a team that finished nearly 29 units under.
Injuries helped derail the Dodgers' season, as key players such as Eric Gagne and J.D. Drew missed time. The Dodgers trudged to a 71-91 mark and finished in fourth place in the NL West. GM Paul DePodesta and manager Jim Tracy were fired after the season, and the team began a rebuild. Jeff Kent had a big year in his first season with the Dodgers, with 29 home runs and 105 RBIs, but he did not approach those numbers again.
The 2008 Padres had a little pop, with three solid hitters in Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles and Jody Gerut and 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, with just 63 wins. They finished down almost 32 units.
The Giants finished with the worst record in the National League (64-98) and their worst record as a team since 1985. Injuries played a part, as Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence all spent time on the DL. Posey was still named the starter at catcher for the All-Star game. There was a power shortage in San Francisco, as Brandon Belt led the team with 18 home runs, and no player eclipsed 77 RBIs.