It's been two weeks since we checked in on the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins' Double-A affiliate that seems to have taken on an air of fatalistic determinism. They've lost six in a row, while winning only one of their last 10 games. They've gone 5-23 since winning their first two games after the Eastern League all-star break.
The Rock Cats have scored the fewest runs and allowed the most in the EL. Their run differential is -221, and dropping. Along the way, they've lost prospects like Rene Tosoni and Ben Revere to season-ending injuries and ace Kyle Gibson to a Triple-A promotion. Other prospects like first baseman Chris Parmelee and righthander Carlos Gutierrez simply have not performed.
If New Britain continues on its charted course and loses 100 or more games (and they're on target for 102), it will become just the third minor league team (that we could find) to pass the century mark for losses in the past 50 years. Well, 53 years to be exact. A slew of teams exceeded 100 losses in the 1950s—back when minor league clubs mimicked the majors and played 154-game schedules—the last being the 1957 Louisville Colonels of the American Association, who went 49-105.
The most recent minor league team to lose 100 times did so 23 years ago. The 1987 San Jose Bees went 33-109 (.232) in the California League. Prior to that, the 1980 Rocky Mount (N.C.) Pines went 24-114 (.174) in the Carolina League. The caveat (and it's a big one): neither of those teams were affiliated with a major league organization at the time. By definition, then, the Bees and Pines did not have access to players deemed to be major league prospects.
That situation would be akin to an independent Frontier League team joining the Carolina or California league today. Such a team would feature plenty of wily ex-college pitchers and fundamentally-sound defensive players, but a severe lack of quality fastballs or power hitters would too often put them at a disadvantage.
So in short, the 2010 Rock Cats' ineptitude is historic. It's virtually impossible to find an analogous situation in recent minor league history. What's worse is that the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, Rochester, sports that classification's worst winning percentage, too.
But on with the show: The the best and worst minor league teams, with about three weeks left in the season.
|TOP SEVEN FULL-SEASON TEAMS • THROUGH AUG. 16
For perspective, follow this link to last year's full-season bests and worsts.
|BOTTOM SEVEN FULL-SEASON TEAMS • THROUGH AUG. 16
For further perspective, we published the minor league leaders for team losses for the past decade in a previous blog post.
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