If you're a Royals fan, the 1962 Mets likely have been in the back of your mind at some point.
Well, maybe not the Mets, but their modern-day record of 120 losses. While the 1899 Cleveland Spiders have the all-time record for losses (20-134 record), it came under unique circumstances. Their owner had sent the best players, including 25-game winner Cy Young, to the other team he owned, the St. Louis Browns, and set the Spiders up for failure.
So in the minds of most, the Mets' 120-loss season is the benchmark of sorts for a bad team.
With the Royals having lost 10 straight and 28 of 32 while seeing their overall record fall to 25-65, you may wonder if a 120-loss is possible.
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Well, Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs wrote about just that possibility, and he calculated that the chance the Royals could reach that woeful 120 mark is 0.3 percent. The Orioles, who are 25-66, are less likely to get to 120 losses as Szymborski gives them just a 0.1 percent chance.
"Both teams stand slightly behind the Mets’ fierce pace," Szymborski wrote, "with winning percentages that round to 45-117, tantalizingly close to bleak greatness, but not quite there. ...
"But there's at least a chance, which is really all that matters. What fun is a record if it's likely to be surmounted? And it gives an additional layer of excitement to losing seasons when you need a break from wondering in what wacky way the Baltimore Orioles will mess up a Manny Machado trade or being astounded that the Royals actually advertise that it took them years to spare the roster from even a single game of Alcides Escobar's services."
Using the ZiPS projection model, Szymborski calculated the Royals' final record would be 54-108, which is different than their pace because it factors in improved play from the players. (If you're wondering, the Royals' record for losses in a season is 106, set in 2005)
However, the ZiPs projections don't factor in future roster moves, particularly trades that seem likely to occur.
"Moving Mike Moustakas isn't improbable, same goes for Lucas Duda. That's enough to get the Royals to almost 1% (chance of reaching 120 losses)," Szymborski wrote.
"A less likely result in which the team moves Danny Duffy and Whit Merrifield boosts them to 3%. A bit disappointing, but still possible."
While having someone calculate the chances of the Royals' reaching 120 losses may seem sad for Royals fans, there is actually good news in this article. FanGraphs' projections are notoriously unkind to the Royals, but in this case the computer shows the Royals should finish with nearly 10 more victories than their current pace.
As this season has unfolded, Royals fans will take any good news, right?
You can read Szymborski's story here.