While some MLB teams are fighting for a playoff berth, others are just struggling to stay relevant. Whether a team has forfeited too many assets, failed to acquire talent through the farm systems, or simply doesn’t run well enough to compete, these organizations have a grim outlook.
Sports Illustrated looked at the futures of these MLB teams and developed an algorithm meant to show who has the bleakest future. These were the most notable results.
Los Angeles Angels
How can a team have a dismal outlook when it has both the best player in baseball and another rising superstar? The Angels may show everyone how. Although Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani make the Angels worth watching, the team around them isn’t built for success any time soon. Despite having a wealth of talent and potential talent, the Angels struggle to be anything more than mediocre.
There is, perhaps, nothing more enigmatic of their current state than Albert Pujols’ tenure. At the time of his signing in 2011, Pujols was believed to be one of the greatest hitters of all time. But everything since has been disappointing. Stack this to a struggling farm system, and the team must improve greatly if they want to take advantage of their stars.
Far removed from the days of Ken Griffey Jr., the Mariners are incredibly hopeless. Stars like pitcher Marco Gonzales simply do not hold enough weight to keep the team afloat. With the longest postseason drought in American sports, Seattle has done nothing but disappoint since beginning this season at 13-2.
There is some young talent, such as Justus Sheffield, Jarred Kelenic, and Justin Dunn. But a weak farm system, few stars, and history of incompetence do not bode well for the Mariners’ future.
How bad are things for the Baltimore Orioles? The team has lost 19 games to the New York Yankees alone. Now, a team’s success is not measured by the way they play against the most storied franchise in pro sports, but losing that many games to one team is different.
The Yankees are looking at another season of sub-.300 baseball. And their farm system is not bubbling over with talent. It was only 2016 when the Orioles were in the wild-card game. But incompetence, bad luck, and faulty pitching makes everything since a nightmare.
The Marlins did the unthinkable and replaced a notoriously inept ownership group with one who may be even worse. Led by Yankees legend Derek Jeter, the team has not been able to recover from the inexplicable trade of superstar Giancarlo Stanton to the team where Jeter made his name.
It got so bad in Miami that Marlins Man notoriously gave up his tickets and has feuded with the new ownership from the beginning. The Marlins may take several years to rise back to relevance. But, if there is one thing that they have built well it is their farm. Their current group’s youthful history does not inspire confidence in the way this will be handled, however.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals went from back-to-back World Series appearances to irrelevance in a matter of years. Players who were the backbone of the World Series winners in 2015, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain, are all on other teams. The Royals struggles began with simple bad play. Then, the death of their young ace Yordano Ventura sent shockwaves through the baseball world.
The team is not devoid of talent, as young shortstop Adalberto Mondesi is making waves. It is hard for teams to create the success that Kansas City had recently, however, and their climb back could be a long one.