The overwhelming majority of the time I work up the Official Power Rankings, I spend my time up top here discussing something positive. I might discuss the race for number one or even number two if there's a dominant team at the top. Maybe I'll highlight a divisional race or, later in the season, a wild-card race.
There are times, however, when negativity is needed. The Oakland Athletics have sunk to depths that require said negativity, because the futility is historic. The way things are shaping up, the A's aren't simply the worst team in baseball. They are legitimately one of the worst teams in baseball history. Let's take a look at some of the teams previously considered among the worst ever, keeping in mind the A's are 11-45 right now.
- The 2003 Tigers finished 43-119. They were 16-40 at this point in the season.
- The 2018 Orioles went 47-115. At this point in the season, they were 17-39.
- The 1916 Philadelphia A's have the franchise record with 117 losses (they won 36). Through 56 games, they were 16-39-1.
- The 1935 Boston Braves were 38-115. At this point in the season, they were 17-39.
- Long held up as the "gold" standard in futility, the expansion Mets in 1962 went 40-120-1. Through 56 games, they were 16-40.
- Generally regarded as the worst team in baseball history, if we stretch all the way back to the 19th century, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders were 20-134. Through 56 games they were 10-46.
That's the entire list of teams that lost at least 115 games in a season and the A's most resemble the 1899 Spiders right now.
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Remember when the 1988 Orioles started the season 0-21? By the time they'd played 56, they were 14-42. They spotted everyone a 21-game losing streak and they were still in better shape than these A's currently are.
If we look at just the first 56 games of the season, the A's are one of 23 to have lost more than 40. The only teams to have lost at least 44 were the aforementioned Spiders, the 1904 Washington Senators and the 1932 Boston Red Sox. Oh, and the 2023 A's. That's it.
We could probably keep going, but I think everyone gets it. There's no hyperbole in saying the current A's might be the worst baseball team in modern history.
|If we lopped off the Rays' 13-0 start, they've gone 26-17 since. Over the course of a full season, 26-17 is a 98-win pace. They're fine.||--||93-60|
|They are very likely to end May with just one series loss and there's no shame in losing two of three to the Braves. This team is looking more and more like it has legitimate staying power.||2||84-68|
|The Grayson Rodriguez demotion, in the big picture for him, isn't a huge deal. Struggles for rookies happen. It is, though, another reminder that they didn't do enough to address the rotation in the offseason. It'll be very interesting to watch them in front of the trade deadline.||--||95-57|
|The Jose Abreu home run Sunday was his first of the season. He's still slugging well under .300 and it's entirely possible he's just washed up. Maybe the homer gets him going? We'll see.||1||85-68|
|Getting the Cardinals when they got them before the Braves and Rays means the Dodgers just finished what will likely be the toughest road trip any team faces this entire season. They went 4-6 and under the circumstances, that isn't terrible.||2||93-58|
|It was really cool to see Mike Soroka take the hill in MLB action again. It had been since Aug. 3, 2020.||4||97-55|
|Fortunately it doesn't sound like the Anthony Rizzo injury will land him on the IL. Do you know who their second-best lefty hitter is? Willie Calhoun!||1||76-76|
|Is Julio heating up? Julio appears to be heating up. We know how much of a game changer he can be and the Mariners are starting to look a bit like last year. Or was it just the weak schedule? Hmm.||7||84-68|
|The Masataka Yoshida signing was largely panned, but he's likely headed to the All-Star Game at this point. Quite a year he's putting together.||1||75-78|
|Lourdes Gurriel started the season slow. He was pretty bad through around eight games. Since then, he's legitimately been one of the best hitters in baseball. He currently sits with a .319/.369/.566 slash.||1||81-72|
|They are still in a bit of a rut and the schedule doesn't do them any favors. They don't play a sub-.500 team until June 23.||1||85-67|
|Well how about that? The Giants are over .500. Until the loss on Sunday, they had won 10 of 12 and got right back after it with a blowout win Monday.||7||76-76|
|Corbin Burnes had a 4.27 ERA in his last 10 starts in 2022 and a 3.97 ERA in his first 10 starts this season. Last time out, he only gave up one run in seven innings. Maybe that's the start of his return to being an elite-level ace?||2||86-66|
|Pablo Lopez now has a 5.67 ERA in seven starts since signing his contract extension.||1||81-72|
|They closed a long road trip out west with wins in four of their last five games. That was impressive and this group seems to have some spunk.||5||79-74|
|Vintage Angels, man. Riding high, looking great, winning games and then they get swept by the Marlins at home.||4||69-83|
|Easily the biggest Jekyll and Hyde team this season. The Mets won five straight but then went 2-4 against the terrible Cubs and Rockies.||3||71-81|
|This was just about the time last year that they turned their entire season around. Can they make it happen again? They have an awful lot of players underachieving, so it seems very possible.||2||83-69|
|Let's say heading into the season that someone would've told you the Tigers would only be one game out on Memorial Day. What would your reaction have been?||3||71-81|
|OK, Fathers. It's been two months. Are you about ready to start living up to expectations?||2||75-78|
|Kudos to general manager Ben Cherington for being honest. When asked over the weekend, essentially, if he expected his team to be above .500 at this juncture (it was over .500 at the time), he said no.||--||71-81|
|Through all this, they are only 3 1/2 games out. They started slow last season, too, though this time around it's been much slower and the team just feels worse. Then again, the division is terrible and it might only take something like 83 wins to bring it home.||1||72-81|
|Three weeks ago, I ran through an analysis of how the Cardinals might've gotten off to the worst start among expected contenders in the Wild Card era. They caught fire to climb within striking distance in the NL Central, but now they've lost five of eight and are eight games under .500, illustrating just how deep a hole they dug for themselves.||6||67-85|
|It's not quite as close or shocking as the Tigers, but the Reds are only four games out.||4||79-75|
|Remember when Kris Bryant was a power hitter? He's slugging .376 this season. Playing half your games in Coors Field is supposed to boost the numbers.||2||56-96|
|Last week, I mentioned that the White Sox had an opportunity to make a move and they went 3-4. That won't cut it. At least Liam Hendriks is back. Rock on, Liam.||1||58-95|
|MacKenzie Gore struck out a career-high 11 hitters on Sunday in Kansas City. You can start to see the makings of a good future rotation with Josiah Gray and Gore, so that's an encouraging sign in the rebuild.||1||68-85|
|How safe should the jobs of David Ross and/or Jed Hoyer be? They're sitting with the worst record in the NL after starting 12-7. The Marcus Stroman one-hit shutout of the Rays on Monday was cool, though.||4||79-73|
|Thanks to the comeback win on Sunday, the Royals are now 8-21 at home. What did the good people attending Kauffman Stadium do to make the team perform so poorly for them?||--||51-102|
|There isn't really much else to say. I hope Rachel Phelps is happy with herself.||--||46-106|