Alec Scercy | PNN editor
Hey baseball fans, I have a challenge for you: name three Houston Astros. Better yet, if I read off the entire depth chart for the coming 2013 season, I would be impressed if you had HEARD OF more than five players. This is why we have a chance of witnessing history this season; the kind of history no one wants their name associated with: most losses in a season in MLB history.
The most losses in a single season in MLB history was 134 by the Cleveland Spiders all the way back in 1899. Now, I do not believe the 2013 Astros will surpass that mark, but let us focus on the “modern era” which is considered to have started in 1900, meaning the spiders missed out by one year.
The modern era record for most losses in a season is 120 by the 1962 New York Mets (no surprise there) and I think these Astros have a chance to reach that number.
Going into the 2012 season the Astros were expected to finish at the bottom of the standings due to the pure lack of talent on their roster. What people did not foresee is by years end the Astros’ roster would have even less talent.
In just ten days (July 20-29) the Astros managed to trade five players off their MLB roster, including their #1 pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, third baseman Chris Johnson, closer Brett Myers, and another starting pitcher J.A. Happ. They continued this trend in the off-season by trading their starting shortstop Jed Lowrie for three more players with little or no experience.
These deals were still respectable because they did return a lot of young players that may be helpful for Houston in the future, but things do not look pretty for the 2013 Astros
One year ago, the Astros had the worst record in baseball at 55-107. They shared a division with the second worst team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, who finished the season with 101 losses. The division foes faced off 15 times, with Houston winning 7 of the 15 meetings; the second most wins for Houston against any opponent last season only to the Milwaukee Brewers, whom Houston tallied 8 wins.
This is important because the 2012 season was the last Houston will be playing in the National League Central division, and this season the Astros will be joining the powerful American League West.
The difference in the National League Central and American League West is substantial. Both divisions may have had two representatives in the playoffs last year, but that does not tell the entire story. The AL West has three legitimate World Series contenders in the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and last years AL West champion Oakland Athletics.
The Angels have only gotten better by adding Josh Hamilton to an already amazing lineup that includes Albert Pujols and budding superstar Mike Trout. The Texas Rangers represented the AL in the World Series in 2010 and 2011 before falling to the Orioles in the new one-game playoff series last season, and look to recover from that late-season collapse. And the Oakland Athletics are hoping to repeat their magical run from last year that was driven by outstanding young pitching.
The only “easy” opponent in the Houston’s new division is Seattle, who finished last season with a 75-87 record, which was 14 games better than the 2012 Astros’ divisional foe Cubs. If last year’s Astros could only win 7 of 15 games against the Cubs last season, I cant imagine they can do much better against Seattle this year, especially since Bud Norris will be Houston’s “Ace.”
I think 120 might be in jeopardy.