San Marino Sting 1995-96

 

Records: 1995: 30-130 1996: 36-124 Total: 66-254

Pythagorean Records: 40-120, 38-122, 78-242

Stan Dev Scores: 1995: -3.71 (-1.98 off, -1.73 pitch) 1996: -4.40 (-2.50 off, -1.90 pitch)

Runs Scored/Allowed: 1995: 537/982 1996: 536/1020

Run Differential: -445, -484

Batting Average: .219, .220

ERA: 5.52, 5.57

 

Best Players (then): The first two Sting teams were paced by respectable veteran first baseman, with J.T. Snow posting (.249, 27, 105) in 95 and Greg Colbrunn (.272, 27, 93) in 96.

Best Players (now): The 95 edition featured little long term talent, with Johnny Damon, Edgardo Alfonzo and Ray Durham seeing limited action and John Lieber getting pounded for 25 losses.  The 96 team featured the same foursome joined by youngsters Andruw Jones, Darin Erstad and Edgar Renteria.

 

Pitching: Well, there was none, really. The 95 team ran out four 25 game losers, topped by Esteban Loaiza at 6-31. Loaiza, Lieber, Brian Anderson and Russ Springer combined for a 25-109 record.  John Hudek threw 194 innings out of the pen with a 6.35 ERA. In 96, the loss totals dropped a little, with the foursome of Loaiza, Springer, Justin Thompson and Frankie Rodriguez going 21-92. “Closer” Terry Adams picked up the slack, going 8-18 with 12 saves and a 5.45 ERA. The pitchers did manage to escape the league basement in ERA each year, though not rising higher than 18th.

 

Hitting: Not much to speak of here either, as the Sting finished last in the league in runs both years.  Both attacks were paced by an adequate first baseman (Snow and Colbrunn) in the cleanup hole but featured little on base at the top, nor power anywhere. The 95 lineup featured roster filler like Mike Devereaux, Derrick May and Mark Whiten, whose veteran leadership was unable to jump-start the team.  The 96 team at least let the kids play, but while Durham and Renteria provided 57 steals at the top of the order, Andruw Jones hit .134 and Darin Erstad .233.  The two teams posted nearly identical offensive numbers across the board, with the 96 outfit batting one point higher but scoring one less run.  In context, however, the 96 team looks a lot worse, as offensive levels soared around them.  The 96 team finished 131 runs behind the nearest competitor and posted the second worst offensive standard deviation score in league history.

 

Summary: The records mark these as the two worst teams in league history, and there’s little behind the numbers to tell a different story.  The run differential suggests that the 95 team, which holds the league record for worst overall, home, and road records, in fact underachieved a little, which is not particularly surprising.  The difficulty is really in picking between the two teams, in fact the consistency between the two in most categories is remarkable.  In context of the league the 96 team actually looks a little worse, particularly offensively. Hard to argue with 30 wins though. Let’s just take em together and call this the worst team in Mail 3 history.


Brightstone Fighting Hens 1993-94

 

Records: 93: 42-114 94: 37-119 Total: 79-233

Pythagorean Records: 40-116, 45-111, 85-239

Stan Dev Scores: 1993: -3.54 (-2.64 off, -0.91 pitch) 1994: -3.49 (-1.61 off, -1.88 pitch)

Runs Scored/Allowed: 1993: 431/768 1994: 577/947

Run Differential: -337, -370

Batting Average: .200, .215

ERA: 4.55, 5.72

 

Best Players (then): Armando Reynoso posted a 3.56 ERA in 30 starts for the 93 club, while Wade Boggs hit .283 and closer Jim Poole saved 14 games with a 2.54 ERA.  Jacob Brumfield hit .291 with 17 dingers the next season, while Bob Wickman posted 17 saves and a 3.51 and Manny Ramirez clubbed 29 homers as a rookie.

Best Players (now): Ramirez, obviously.  With the exception of him and Wickman, very little talent came out of this team. It was populated mostly by aging stars, with Ozzie Smith, Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs all roaming the infield. 

 

Pitching: The 93 team got solid work out of its starters, with Armando Reynoso, Rene Arocha, Donovan Osborne and Bill Wegman all posting ERAs under 4.60.  The foursome suffered from lack of run support however, and combined with Wickman, Sid Fernandez and Frank Castillo on a 26-94 record as a rotation. The bullpen was solid as well, with Farr, M. Williams and Willis all under 4.00 and Jim Poole closing well.  That success was not repeated in 94, however, as the team ERA soared to a league high 5.72.  Reynoso went 3-20 and AJ Sager 3-19, the rotation combined for a 25-91 mark. The pen was a mixed bag, with Wickman, Dewey and Reyes doing solid work while Rene Arocha and Darren Oliver proved far more inflammatory.

 

Hitting: The 1993 offense was, simply put, the worst in league history.  The 93 Hens batted .200, belted just 61 homers, and scored a mere 431 runs, 2.76 a game. Boggs was the lone respectable hitter, batting .283 without power, while the lone power source, Don Mattingly, led the team with 16 dingers but batted .221.  Other regulars and semi-regulars included Greg Anthony (.160), Rob Briley (.152), and Bob Zupcic (.202).  The picture brightened in 94 with the arrival of Manny Ramirez, who’s 29 homers and 41 doubles offset a .229 average.  Journeymen Brumfield and Geronimo Berroa also posted decent seasons in the middle of the order.  Nonetheless the team finished next to last in average and runs, with Greg Anthony’s average dropping to .157.

 

Summary: The 93-94 Hens edged expansion brethren South End for a spot on the list despite similar numbers by dropping all the way to 37 wins in 94, the third worst total in team history.  In contrast to the consistent Sting expansion teams, the Hens found two different ways to be awful: in 93 the worst offense in history dragged down a half-decent pitching staff, while the next year relative improvements in the offense were offset by a collapse of the pitching.  For my money the 93 team was worse, .200 BA, 61 homers and 431 runs scored is just awful.


Columbus Mad Cows 1991

 

Record: 49-111

Pythagorean Record: 42-118

Standard Deviation Score: -4.45 (-2.71 off, -1.74 pitch)

Runs Scored/Allowed: 489/858

Run Differential: -369

Batting Average: .202

ERA: 4.89

 

Best Players (then): Juan Gonzalez, then a rookie, provided much of the offense with 34 dingers and team highest batting average- at .244.  Orel Hershiser led the staff with a 12-7 record and a 3.84 ERA, while Alejandro Pena was solid in the closer role.

 

Best Players (now): Gonzalez, and a young outfielder who hit .182 in 22 at bats named Sammy Sosa.  Darryl Kile also pitched 47 times out of the pen, posting an 0-9 record.  The team also featured past prime stars George Brett and Alan Trammell.

 

Pitching: This is the only team profiled to feature a legitimate top starter, with Hershiser posting a 12-7 record even with this offense behind him.  Jose DeJesus did good work with a 3.72 ERA in 31 starts, but Frank Castillo (later of the 93 Hens) was lit up for a 9-23 record and a 6.04 ERA.  The staff as a whole went 41-89, just 29-82 outside of Hershiser.  The pen was poor but not historically so, with Greg Cadaret, Darryl Kile and Alejandro Pena doing decent work.  The staff as a whole looks decent by 2002 standards, but it’s 4.89 ERA and 858 runs allowed were worst in the league.

 

Hitting: Gonzalez began a stellar career, leading the team in the Triple Crown categories with (.244, 29, 92).  Outside of him…George Brett belted 40 doubles and 13 homers, but batted just .196.  Alan Trammell provided veteran D and 10 homers at short, but hit .198.  Dan Gladden tripled 9 times, but hit .210.  Young catcher Sandy Alomar batted .183.  The list goes on, as no Mad Cow regular or part timer topped .244.  11 of the 19 hitters on the roster failed to crack the Mendoza line, and the teams’ highest on base percentage was Felix Jose at .299.  While Gonzalez provided enough punch to push the Cows above the 93 Hens offense, the difference is slight; the 91 Cows actually have the worst offense in history as measured by standard deviation.

 

Summary: If there’s such a thing as an underrated worst team, this is it. The Cows 49 wins are deceiving, as their Pythagorean record places them in the 42 win neighborhood.  In a league where the talent was closely bunched, the Cow featured the worst staff in the league and a historically bad offense, leading to the worst standard deviation score in league history.  The foundation of talent began to take shape for a rise to the top, however, as this season yielded the #1 pick, Mike Mussina, to go with Gonzalez and Sosa.  The Cows climbed to 80 wins the next season and won the Aaron division in 93 with a 97-59 record, an impressive two-year turnaround.  Nonetheless, the 91 squad is fully deserving of a spot among the worst teams ever.


Eagle Rock Rocks 1999

 

Record: 38-122

Pythagorean Record: 42-118

Standard Deviation Score: -3.87 (-1.25 offense, -2.62 pitch)

Runs Scored/Allowed: 723/1276

Run Differential: -553

Batting Average: .232

ERA: 7.27

 

Best Players (then): The outfield was actually solid, with Jeff Hammonds, Preston Wilson and Mike Cameron combining for 93 homers and 275 RBIs. Frank Thomas and Rich Aurilia played regularly, though both struggled, batting .263 and .240 respectively.  Guillermo Mota was serviceable in the pen with a 4.03 ERA and 15 saves.

 

Best Players (now): Javier Vazquez, who was pounded for  4-16 record.  Jim Edmonds and Eric Chavez struggled through tough years but have turned it on since, as has Aurilia. Cameron, Wilson and Erubiel Durazo remain good players as well.  There was actually a good deal of offensive talent on this team.

 

Pitching: or “Can a card wear out from overuse?”  The Rocks more or less featured a one man pitching staff, posting just 20 complete games and allowing reliever Scott Strickland to pitch in 135 games and post the following numbers: 8.52 ERA, 6-22 record, 454 innings, 270 walks, 526 K’s, 75 homers allowed.  All league records, none in particular danger in the foreseeable future.  The starters were almost as bad as Strickland, combining for a 27-92 mark despite rarely pitching more than the requisite number of innings.  The staff as a whole set league records for runs and hits allowed and ERA while posting the worst pitching standard deviation score in league history.

 

Hitting: The offense, while poor relative to the league, was a cut above the others in this book.  The outfield featured three bangers in Hammonds, Cameron and Wilson who provided good power production, out-homering the 93 Brighstone squad by themselves 93-61.  The infield was less distinguished, with mediocre seasons from veterans Aurilia and Thomas, and very little production from rookies Ronnie Belliard (.230) and Eric Chavez (.177).  AJ Hinch and Ben Davis were yet worse in the catchers spot, failing to crack the Mendoza line.  The lack of lineup balance dragged down the offense, which finished last in batting average and 19th in runs scored.

 

Summary: If there’s a team that really challenges San Marino for the worst of all-time, this is probably it. The 99 Rocks produced by far the worst run differential in history, keyed by an offense that was easily the worst of all-time, thanks in large part to one rubber armed reliever.  However, the offense borders on respectable, with power bats in the middle, and the relative spread of talent in the league in 99 makes the standard deviation score less impressive.  Due to the lack of balance in their futility, the Rocks will have to settle for the title of worst pitching staff ever.  As far as turnarounds go, Eagle Rock did Columbus one better and then some, jumping from 38 wins to 114, a 76 win improvement the likes of which Mail 3 has never seen before.