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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Loser Scores 2014

Bill James came up with Loser Scores after the 2010 season, in an effort to measure how the Pirates’ string of losing seasons compared to other lengthy stretches of bad baseball. I’ve updated the totals every year since then.

You compute Loser Scores in this fashion:

1. A team that has a losing season adds to its Loser Score the total of games under .500, plus the number of consecutive seasons that the team has been under .500.
2. A team that has a .500 or better season takes its previous Loser Score and multiplies it by (1-number of consecutive non-losing seasons/10) - so .9 for the first .500+ season, .8 for the second, and so on - rounds that to the nearest whole number, and then subtracts the number of games over .500.
3. A Loser Score cannot go below zero.
4. Winning the World Series is an automatic reset to zero.

Updated Loser Scores through 2014:

Team     2013 W     L     Games Under     Loser Score     2014 W     L     Games Under     Loser Score     Diff
PIT          94    68          -26            543             88    74         -14             420         -123
KCR          86    76          -10            436             89    73         -16             333         -103
HOU          51   111           60            205             70    92          22             233           28
CHC          63    99           36            175             73    89          16             196           21
COL          74    88           14            153             66    96          30             187           34
SEA          71    91           20            185             87    75         -12             155          -30
BAL          85    77           -8            254             96    66         -30             148         -106
MIN          66    96           30            102             70    92          22             128           26
MIL          74    88           14            129             82    80          -2             114          -15
SDP          76    86           10             96             77    85           8             108           12
MIA          62   100           38             95             77    85           8             108           13
NYM          74    88           14             77             79    83           4              87           10
WAS          86    76          -10            161             96    66         -30              83          -78
ARI          81    81            0             42             64    98          34              77           35
CIN          90    72          -18             56             76    86          10              67           11
CHW          66    96           30             31             73    89          16              49           18
CLE          92    70          -22             63             85    77          -8              42          -21
PHI          73    89           16             17             73    89          16              35           18
TOR          74    88           14             39             83    79          -4              31           -8
TEX          91    72          -19              0             67    95          28              29           29
BOS          97    65          -32              0             71    91          20              21           21
TBR          92    71          -21              0             77    85           8               9            9
ATL          96    66          -30              0             79    83           4               5            5
SFG          76    86           10             11             88    74         -14               0          -11
DET          93    69          -24              7             90    72         -18               0           -7
LAA          78    84            6              7             98    64         -34               0           -7
LAD          92    70          -22              0             94    68         -26               0            0
NYY          85    77           -8              0             84    78          -6               0            0
OAK          96    66          -30              0             88    74         -14               0            0
STL          97    65          -32              0             90    72         -18               0            0

The Pirates are still working off the kinks of 1992-2012, so even their second consecutive non-losing season takes them only down to 420. The Astros’ recent run of futility still has them only third-worst.

The Rangers got to zero for the first time in franchise history in 2012. The Rays got there in 2013 for the first time. Both backslid in 2014.

The Tigers, on the other hand, finally got back to zero for the first time since 1988. It took six straight seasons of .500 or better for Detroit to wipe out 314 Loser Score points, which is where they were in 2008. After 2005 the Tigers were at 465; they’ve been at least .500 in every season since then except for 2008.

The Yankees have been at zero since 1995. I expect that streak to end in the next year or two.

As I pointed out earlier, had the Royals won the World Series they’d have gone from 436 to zero, which would have been the second largest deficit wipeout in history, trailing only the 1914 Miracle Braves (531) and moving ahead of the 1969 Mets.

The Padres have never been at zero, the only franchise not to touch it; their best Loser Score in their history is 25, which they reached after the 2007 season. The Cubs haven’t been at zero since 1946; that run of 68 straight above-zero years is the longest run of above-zero scores in MLB history; beating the 65-year run with which the Browns/Orioles franchise started their history.

Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2014 at 11:32 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. TomH Posted: November 01, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4833517)
As always, B James comes up with a simple but elegant way of expressing a concept in quantitative terms.

I would offer a small adjustment; a team who *plays in* a World Series should get their Loser Score cut additionally by half, or 80 points, whichever is greater. It seems wrong to see the Royals still far far "ahead" of the Cubbies.
   2. bobm Posted: November 01, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4833546)
the 65-year run with which the Browns/Orioles franchise started their history


What is the loser score for the Orioles since they moved to Baltimore? How about the Nationals and the Expos each separately? (At what loser score did the Expos end their life in Montreal?) What about the other relocated franchises (Athletics, Giants, Dodgers, Braves, etc.) in each city?
   3. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 02, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4834201)
What is the loser score for the Orioles since they moved to Baltimore?


The Browns were at 854 when they moved to Baltimore in 1954. They went to zero in 1966 because the Orioles won the World Series that year. Based on strictly their Baltimore history, they'd have gotten to zero for the first time two years earlier, in 1964. They peaked at 110 for Baltimore only after 1959. Their history since 1966 would have been identical, obviously.

How about the Nationals and the Expos each separately?


After 2004, the Expos were at 118. The Nationals would have started out at zero after going 81-81 in 2005, then peaked at 169 (instead of 275) after 2011. They'd be at 29 now.

What about the other relocated franchises (Athletics, Giants, Dodgers, Braves, etc.) in each city?


The Dodgers aren't very interesting; their history doesn't change at all. They were at zero after 1957, and won the WS in their second year in LA, wiping out the 13 they'd accumulated in their first year.

The Giants were at 39 when they left New York. It took them four years to wipe those points out. They started in SF with 14 straight winning seasons, so they wouldn't have had anything other than zero until 1972.

The Braves were at 169 after their final season in Boston, a total which they wiped out by 1956 after moving to Milwaukee. They never had a losing season there, so when they moved to Atlanta they were at zero.

The A's were at 402 following their last season in Philadelphia, with a string of two losing seasons, and never had a winning season in KC. Based strictly on their time in Kansas City they'd have left for Oakland with a score of 486 (they were actually at 914) - which would still have been the highest in the majors, just ahead of the Cubs. They started in Oakland with four straight winning seasons prior to their three-year WS run - when they won it all in 1972 for the first time they had cut their score down to 219.

The original Senators were at 463 when they moved to Minnesota in 1961. They'd have gone to zero in 1962 (which they didn't actually achieve until they won it all in 1987), would have had one-year dips in 1964 and 1968, then would have been above zero from 1971 through 1987, except for one year in 1977.

The Brewers racked up 35 points in their lone season in Seattle. They zeroed out the total points in 1982, and they'd have still done so without their year as the Pilots, peaking at 224 instead of 267 after 1977. When they moved to the NL in 1997 they were at 69; counting only their NL years from 1998 forward they'd be at 71 now instead of 114.

Finally, Houston was at 140 two years ago, with four straight losing seasons before the move to the AL. Their two years in the AL, standing alone, would rate at 85.

-- MWE
   4. bobm Posted: November 02, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4834218)
[3] Thank you.
   5. GGC for Sale Posted: November 02, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4834230)
This is cool stuff. MWE made a post about this two years ago and Harold linked a couple of historical graphs for the NL West and the NL in general.
   6. TomH Posted: November 05, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4836283)
just FWIW
YEARS WINNING WORLD PLAYOFFS YEARS WINNING WORLD PLAYOFFS
SINCE . IT ALL SERIES . . . . . . . . SINCE . IT ALL SERIES
RED SOX . 1 . . . 1 . . . . 1 . . . . BRAVES . 19 . . 15 . . 1
RAYS..... xxx . . 6 . . . . 1 . . . NATIONALS xxx . xxx . . 0
ORIOLES . 31 . . 31 . . . . 0 .. . . PHILLIES . . 6 . . 5 . . 3
YANKEES. 5 . . . 5 . . . . 2 . . . . . . METS . 28 . . 14 . . 8
BLUE JAYS 21 . 21 . . . 21 . . . . MARLINS . 11 . .11 . . 11
then I got tired of manual formatting
WHITE SOX 9 9 6 CARDINALS 3 1 0
TIGERS 30 2 0 PIRATES 35 35 1
TWINS 23 23 4 REDS 24 24 1
INDIANS 66 17 1 BREWERS xxx 32 3
ROYALS 29 0 0 CUBS 106 69 6

ATHLETICS 25 24 1 DODGERS 26 26 0
ANGELS 12 12 0 D- BACKS 13 13 3
RANGERS xxx 3 3 GIANTS 0 0 0
MARINERS xxx xxx 13 ROCKIES xxx 7 5
ASTROS xxx 9 9 PADRES xxx 16 8
   7. TomH Posted: November 05, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4836302)
Blue Jays have by far the longest playoff drought. Only two current teams have never appeared in a WS; Natoinals and Mariners.
   8. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: November 15, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4843217)
Ehhhhhh... I dunno. A lot of Bill James's stuff strikes me as this one does: Nonmathematical things that use arbitrary arithmetic for no real reason.

I mean, the KC Royals were two runs away from having the best possible "loser score", but instead they have the second-to-worst?

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