MLB Oddities and the 20 Loss Season

The 2018 MLB season has been packed full of oddities.

Ian Happ hit a home run on the first pitch of the season, we’re currently on pace to shatter the single season home run record (both by a team and the league as a whole), and we’re on pace for my strikeouts than hits. There have been 30 (30!!) no hit bids that have lasted at least 6 innings this season.

But above all that, baseball may very well be in line to see something that it hasn’t seen since the 2003 season, and something that has happened only once since 1980.

I’m talking about the rarity that is a 20 loss season in the Major Leagues.

In an era where a starting pitcher rarely throws more than 6 innings, the 20 loss season has become something like a unicorn. It NEVER happens. There is an overwhelming thought process within the baseball world that a win-loss record is not indicative of a pitcher’s performance. I agree with that for the most part, but I mean to lose 20 games in a season, a starter does have to be shockingly bad.

So without further adieu, here are the four guys that have a chance to join the exclusive list of modern day pitchers with a 20 loss season

The Contenders:

Jakob Junis, Kansas City Royals  

(5-10, 5.13 ERA, 17 starts)

Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals

(2-10, 5.56 ERA, 17 starts)

Alex Cobb, Baltimore Orioles

(1-10, 6.53 ERA, 15 starts)

Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals

(3-10, 4.30 ERA, 17 starts)

Ranked: most likely to join the 20 loss club to least likely

  1. Alex Cobb It was tough, really tough, to determine who should be slotted in the number one spot. But let’s face it, Alex Cobb has been terrible. The Baltimore Orioles are terrible, and it’s only going to get worse. Cobb gets the nod as the most likely because of how tough the AL East is, and also the pending firesale in  Baltimore.
  2. Jason Hammel – Hammel was the other choice at number one, as he’ll most likely lead the majors with 11 losses after tonight (he goes against Chris Sale). In my opinion, we’ll probably see two 20 game losers in baseball this year, unless Hammel gets dealt. The Royals are 5-24 since the beginning of June, and have scored just 66 runs. That’s 2.2 per game. And in 17 games during that stretch, they’ve scored 2 or fewer runs. The outburst in that 29 game stretch was a 6 run performance against the Angels, a game that the Royals still lost.
  3. Jakob Junis – Believe it or not, Junis started the year 3-1, and was 5-3 at one point. Then the Royals stopped scoring, and Junis started getting pummeled. Unlike Cobb and Hammel, Junis has occasionally had really good stuff in some outings this year. He’ll figure it out enough to avoid 20 losses.
  4. Tanner Roark – Compared to the other 3 guys on this list, Roark has looked like a regular ace. If for some horrific reason, this was your starting rotation, I’m thinking Roark would get the start on Opening Day. God bless that imaginary team. But at the end of the day, Roark is the lone guy on this list with a sub 5 ERA, and even though they’ve been terrible recently, the Washington Nationals are still a good team. They’re too good for Roark to individually lose 20 games.

I’d be lying if I said I won’t be following these guys for the rest of the season. Fingers crossed for a 20 loss season.


-Brian Borders (@bborders12)

One thought on “MLB Oddities and the 20 Loss Season

  • July 6, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Totally rooting for it. I thought Anthony Young did it for the Mets but he was only 1-16 in 1993.


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