After June’s tournament to crown the best Minnesota Twins team of all time, Twinkie Town commenter and possessor of an excellent username Puntonium71 left this reply:
Could you do a similar thing with the 16 worst Twins teams ever while we continue to wait for IRL MLB to start?
’16 vs. ’81. Tantalizing, no? Because this is the internet, let me make clear that I am not being sarcastic. I would sincerely like to see that tournament next.
While it had to wait a few months due to graduate school, consider that request granted.
Over the coming weeks, I will be playing through a bracket using Out of the Park 21 to determine the worst team in Twins history.
Having selected a 17-team field from the Twins and Senators squads with the lowest winning percentages (with a caveat; see below), let’s go over the rules.
- In forming the roster for each team, I tried to present an accurate portrayal of each team as it was throughout the given season. As such, I used a combination of number of games played and statistics, as well as if they were actually listed on the OOTP Twins/Senators end-season roster for that year, to fill out the squads. Players who were injured midway through certain seasons were allowed onto these rosters.
- Once 25-man rosters are set at the start of the bracket, I will not change them.
- I’ll be using more modern roster management and strategy, so the lineups and rotations will not necessarily be like those used by the actual teams.
- All teams are using a four-man pitching rotation, but I have enabled the ability for starters to pitch out of the bullpen.
- The designated hitter rule is in effect, so teams that played before 1973 will still be able to use their pitcher exclusively in the field.
- The higher-seeded teams — the worse teams — will still get homefield advantage in each round.
- Injuries have been turned off. Teams must suck on their merits.
As before, the bracket will be single-elimination, with the first two rounds five games each and the final two seven games apiece. There will also be a single play-in game due to the unevenness of the field. Additionally, as this is a worst-team bracket, the team that wins each round will be “eliminated”... or rather, will escape the ignominy of continuing in the bracket.
And this bracket should be Twinnified as well.
- Since the rounds of the “greatest” bracket were named after Twins icons, the rounds of this bracket will be named after recent Twins free agent disappointments: Round 1 will be the Logan Morrison Round, the quarterfinals the Byung-Ho Park Round, the semifinals the Ricky Nolasco Round, and the finals the Tsuyoshi Nishioka Round.
- The quarterfinal regionals will again be named after Twinkie Town writers and contributors: the Gamble Regional, Hayden Regional, Austin Regional, and Zach Regional (ed. note: this is to in no way imply those people suck -TJ)
- The semifinals will be the Bud Selig Sectional and the Rob Manfred Sectional. No need to explain why.
Now, on to the contenders.
I initially selected the Twins and Senators teams with the lowest winning percentage to fill out the bracket, but was forced to disqualify the 1903, ‘04, ‘06, and ‘07 Senators teams, as none had enough players in OOTP to fill out a 25-man roster. In drawing the next four to fill out the field, I ran into a tie in record, hence the 17-team field.
Teams were seeded based on a combination of winning percentage and the total bWAR of their top five players in that category.
Here are the Obscene Seventeen.
1. 1909 Washington Senators (42-110, .276 win%)
Despite featuring a young Walter Johnson (2.22 ERA), the hapless Senators scored just 382 runs all season (2.51 runs per game). Only three Senators (OFs Jack Lelivelt and George Browne, and IF Bob Unglaub) were the only regulars with an on-base percentage above .300 (respectively .334, .308, and .301), and in the midst of the dead ball era, Washington hit just nine home runs, three off the bat of Unglaub.
2. 1949 Washington Senators (50-104, .325 win%)
Only first baseman Eddie Robinson (slashed .294/.381/.459) and pitcher Sid Hudson (4.22 ERA) put up a bWAR of even 2.0 for the ‘49 team, who scored 584 runs (yay) but allowed 868 (boo).
3. 1955 Washington Senators (53-101, .344 win%)
The first of four consecutive seasons making it into this bracket, the ‘55 Senators at least saw an All-Star-worthy campaign from first baseman Mickey Vernon (slashed .301/.384/.452) and a pair of sub-4.00 ERA starters in Johnny Schmitz (3.71) and Mickey McDermott (3.75).
4. 1957 Washington Senators (55-99, .357 win%)
Although left fielder Roy Sievers finished third in MVP voting after slashing .301/.388/.579 with 42 home runs and 114 runs batted in (scoring 99 of his own), this team still finished last. They got no help from their pitching staff, as Camilo Pascual’s 4.10 ERA was the lowest in their rotation.
5. 1981 Minnesota Twins (41-68, .376 win%)
The split-season Twins were atrocious in the first half of the year (17-39) but merely bad in the second half (24-29), combining to land at the fifth seed. The ‘81 team had no stars, with only four players topping 2.0 bWAR in the truncated campaign.
6. 1948 Washington Senators (56-97, .366 win%)
In 1948, the Senators still hit like it was the dead ball era, totaling 31 home runs on the season, nearly half from outfielders Gil Coan and Bud Stewart, who each hit seven. Their rotation, despite Ray Scarborough’s 2.82 ERA, could not overcome anemic offense.
7. 2016 Minnesota Twins (59-103, .364 win%)
We remember. The Danny Santana center field experiment, the John Ryan Murphy trade, the Nolasco... everything, we still remember it. (We do remember Brian Dozier’s 42 homers, Ervin Santana’s 3.38 ERA, and Pat Dean’s spoonerism, though.)
8. 2011 Minnesota Twins (63-99, .389 win%)
This team was at the level of badness where there’s not even anything dreadfully interesting to talk about — they were just bad. At least Scott Baker pitched to a 3.14 ERA and Michael Cuddyer (team homer leader with 20) slashed .284/.346/.459.
9. 1956 Washington Senators (59-95, .383 win%)
The ‘56 squad had some good bats in LF Sievers, 1B Pete Runnels, C Clint Courtney, and #B Eddie Yost (all OBPs above .360), but outside of Chuck Stobbs and his 3.60 ERA, the pitching doomed them.
10. 1982 Minnesota Twins (60-102, .370 win%)
All the gloom of 1981 with 51 more games to show it. At least Kent Hrbek (.301/.363/.485, 23 HRs) was emerging as a stud.
11. 1995 Minnesota Twins (56-88, .389 win%)
Ah, back in the days when Metrodome attendees loved their star young second baseman named Chuck Knoblauch (.333/.424/.487) and Kirby Puckett (.314/.379/.515) was a hero in center field. How quickly things change.
12. 1999 Minnesota Twins (63-97, .394 win%)
The ‘99 Twins featured a young core in Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Cristian Guzmán that would eventually make a string of playoff pushes, but in 1999, they were still young and had not reached their prime level of talent. Their record shows it now.
13. 1948 Washington Senators (61-93, .396 win%)
Three Senators topped double-digit home runs (Sievers with 39, RF Jim Lemon 26, 1B Norm Zauchin 15). One starter put up a sub-4.00 ERA (Pascual, 3.15). It wasn’t good.
14. 1951 Washington Senators (62-92, .403 win%)
This team hit decently, featuring five regulars and a frequently-used reserve with OBPs above .340. As you may have guessed, they just didn’t pitch so well. Three starters put up ERAs below 4.00, but when that is your benchmark in the first place, it’s a bad sign.
15. 2013 Minnesota Twins (66-96, .407 win%)
A year with no Twin topping 18 home runs (Dozier), no starter putting up an ERA below 3.83 (Sam Deduno), and my favorite Twin in Justin Morneau being traded to the Pirates... I don’t miss this year one bit.
16. 1919 Washington Senators (56-84, .400 win%)
It’s the dead ball era again, but the Senators didn’t hit atrociously (five OBPs at or above .330), nor did they pitch terribly (all four starters’ ERAs below 4.00, led by Johnson’s 1.49). They just didn’t do either very well — again, excepting Johnson.
17. 2012 Minnesota Twins (66-96, .407 win%)
Although Joe Mauer led the American League with a .416 OBP and Josh Willingham swatted 35 home runs, the team’s rotation was a mess. Scott Diamond led starters with a 3.54 ERA. That’s Scott Diamond and Sam Deduno in consecutive seasons. No wonder these teams lost 96 games.
And thus, the bracket is set:
All rosters can be found here.
I will be playing one game for each day of each round, along with the play-in game. Unlike the “best” tournament, I’ll start the first round by playing the 8/9 game on Day 1, then 7/10 on Day 2, and work outwards from there; this is because I’ll have to play the play-in game first, and don’t want to play with the same team twice in a row so early.
Once we get to the finals, you bet I’m keeping score again.
Beck, play us out.
— | Introduction | Morrison Round, Day 1