Position players have been better pitchers than you may realize this season
Monday afternoon in Cincinnati, the Dodgers demolished the Reds (LAD 18, CIN 9) in their series finale. The two teams split their four-game series.
As you might expect with a score that lopsided, a position player did indeed pitch in the game. Reds reserve outfielder Tyler Holt drew the short straw and wound up on the mound. He needed only five pitches to throw a scoreless inning. Check it out:
Holt is 22nd position player to pitch in a game this season. Three of them (Christian Bethancourt, Drew Butera, Erik Kratz) pitched in two games. Chris Gimenez actually threw two innings in his appearance. Crazy.
Collectively, position players have been better pitchers than you may realize this season. Don’t get me wrong, they’re bad, but they haven’t been a total disaster. Here are the numbers:
After Tyler Holt’s 1-2-3 inning for the Reds, MLB position players pitching this year: 5.32 ERA, .304/.360/.578. Expected to find worse.
— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) August 22, 2016
That’s in 23 2/3 total innings. Pitchers have even recorded five strikeouts too. For the record, a whopping 78 pitchers — actual MLB pitchers — have thrown at least 23 2/3 innings this season with an ERA higher than 5.32, including big names like Jered Weaver and Matt Cain.
I’ve had hitters tell me it’s not fun to hit against a position player. For starters, they often lack control. Secondly, it’s a no-win situation. If you get a hit, it’s because you’re supposed to get a hit against a position player. If you make an out, it’s embarrassing. Collectively, position players have been a half-decent mop-up man in 2016.