The numeral 100 has a certain appeal to it, does it not? It's a round one, and it can signify percentage in the utmost, a full century's worth of years, optimal highway driving speed, and all kinds of other things. We have emojis for it and everything. 

In the realm of This, Our Baseball, the number 100 when dominated in team wins signifies a crackin'-good regular season. On the flipside, however, we also have 100 losses, which denotes abject failure at the team level and sky-scraping draft position. Let us now devote our time to just that – i.e., abject failure at the team level. 

While we're still but toe-deep into the 2024 Major League Baseball season, it's not unreasonable to ponder whether this current campaign will yield a record number of 100-loss squadrons. Speaking of which, the abundance of 100-loss teams is very much a strong recent trend. 

The 2019 season brought us a record four 100-loss teams, as the Orioles, Marlins, Royals, and Tigers all reached the century mark. Said record turned out to be a trend in disguise, as the 2021 season (Orioles, Rangers, Pirates, Diamondbacks), 2022 season (A's, Nationals, Reds, Pirates), and 2023 season (White Sox, A's, Royals, Rockies) each brought us a quartet of 100-loss teams. Had the 2020 regular season not been abbreviated to just 60 games in length because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then we might be working on a streak of five straight years of having four 100-loss teams. 

This, tidily enough, brings us to the current 2024 MLB campaign. How many teams will clock 100 or more losses this year? At this relatively hour, the standings can't be our complete guide to such matters. The sample is far too small to allow sensible conclusions. For instance, while the Astros may be in for a disappointing season no one expects them to lose 108 games, which is what they're on pace for as of Tuesday morning. Likewise, while the Brewers are reigning National League Central champs no serious person thinks they'll maintain their current 108-win pace. Such are the hazards of leaning on the standings this early in the season.

Instead, we'll use the updated win projections by SportsLine, which you'll find on our MLB current standings page. These win projections arrive at forecast season-long win totals via thousands of simulations and are of course influenced by how teams have performed thus far and how they figure to perform moving forward. The deeper we get into the season, the more the actual standings matter in terms of forward-looking record projections. For now, though, the projectable strength of these teams matter more than their records through 15 or so games. 

Going into Tuesday's slate, SportsLine projects four teams to finish with 100 or more losses and a fifth team, it says here, merits close monitoring. Here's that quintet, in ascending order of current projected record: 


SportsLine projected final record (as of April 16)

Oakland A's


Chicago White Sox


Colorado Rockies


Washington Nationals


Miami Marlins


As you can see above, the A's, White Sox, Rockies, and Nationals are all projected to finish with at least 100 losses. If that comes to pass, then the current campaign will be the fifth straight full season to yield a record four 100-loss teams. (Aside: 100-loss teams often travel in packs with 100-win teams on the other end of the continuum; however, SportsLine as of Tuesday projects just two 100-win teams, the Braves and Dodgers.) 

Straightaway, most of this tracks quite well. The A's, White Sox, and Rockies all lost more than 100 games last year and have undertaken nothing of note to improve their rosters. In the White Sox's case, the trade of Dylan Cease has worsened their near-term outlook. As for the Nats, they lost 91 games a season ago. However, if you look at their runs scored and runs allowed from 2023, they played more like a 95-loss team at that fundamental level. If you look at the Nats' third-order record (what's this?), which drills down even deeper than run differential and bears a much stronger relationship to future performance than the team's actual prior-season record does, you'll find that the Nats in 2023 played like a 99-loss team. It's no stretch to see them as a 100-loss team in 2024, particularly in light of some early injuries and their ongoing reliance on Patrick Corbin as a rotation linchpin. 

The Marlins may qualify as a surprise in this discussion given that they clocked a winning season in 2023 and made the playoffs. Much like the Nats, however, they were worse at a fundamental level than their record would lead you to believe. Miami last season was out-scored by a hefty 57 runs, which means that at that level they deserved a record of 75-87 instead of their actual mark of 84-78. That the Marlins went 33-14 in one-run games last season makes them overwhelming candidates for future regression, and that future is here. Throw in the rash of pitching injuries that have afflicted Skip Schumaker's club and have sidelined core arms like Sandy Alcantara and Eury Pérez, and it's easy to see how their profile has been significantly lowered. The Marlins' 3-14 start to the season isn't driving the projections, but, yes, being nine games under .500 before the middle of April is playing a secondary role. One thing to bear in mind is that the Marlins, with a new front office in place and not much hope of contention even with the expanded playoff field in play, might undertake a sell-off leading up to the trade deadline. Doing so would quite obviously worsen the current roster and lead to their clocking losses at an even greater clip down the stretch. So, yes, despite how the team fared in 2023, a 100-loss Marlins team in 2024 is very much a possibility, even if it's not a likelihood. 

So why is the 100-loss team such a strong recent trend? A number of teams undertake rebuilds, which typically involve strip-mining the big-league roster for tradable talent and replacing them with filler types or not-ready prospects. The tanking phenomenon, as notably demonstrated over the last decade or so by teams like the Astros, Cubs, and Orioles is very much related. There's also some overlap with smaller-market owners who would prefer to pocket all those shared revenues rather than invest them in the on-field product. The current system gives such owners too much in the way of guaranteed profits while not attaching those guarantees to any real sense of accountability. Then you have the loathsome likes of John Fisher in Oakland, who in essence killed the A's roster in order to make his relocation racket seem like more of an inevitability. 

Whatever reasons you land on, too many team owners aren't even satisfying notions of "bare minimum" effort, and the fruits of such disinvestment are seen in the standings. When it comes to the bottom end of that, the 2024 season could be like no other we've seen before. Consider this a timely reminder that breaking a record isn't always a good thing.