Skip to content

Who needs pitchers, anyway?

Aug 28, 2009, 1:52 PM EDT

Last night Nick Green became the second Red Sox position player to take the mound this season, tossing two scoreless innings against the White Sox after starter Junichi Tazawa was clobbered for nine runs.
Green hadn’t pitched in over a decade and it showed, as he found the strike zone on just 13 of 35 pitches and walked three of the nine batters he faced. However, his fastball regularly clocked in around 90 miles per hour and he also flashed a slider, somehow managing to record six outs without allowing a hit.
“I had success only because my ball had some movement, but I wasn’t trying for that,” Green said. “I was trying to throw it straight.”
For whatever reason teams have been a lot more willing than usual to use position players as mop-up men this season, with Green joining Josh Wilson, Paul Janish, Jon Van Every, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Ross Gload, and Mark Loretta on the mound. Here are their respective pitching numbers:

                   IP    ER     H    BB    SO    HR
Nick Green        2.0     0     0     3     0     0
Josh Wilson       2.0     3     3     1     0     1
Paul Janish       2.0    11     9     2     3     2
Nick Swisher      1.0     0     1     1     1     0
Cody Ross         1.0     0     1     0     0     0
Ross Gload        1.0     0     0     2     0     0
Mark Loretta      0.1     0     0     0     0     0
Jon Van Every     0.2     0     1     1     0     0
TOTAL            10.0    14    15    10     4     3

As you might expect they haven’t done so well, allowing 14 earned runs on 15 hits and 10 walks in 10 innings. On the other hand, if you remove Janish’s two ugly outings the other seven position players have posted a 3.38 ERA while serving up just one homer in eight innings. With eight walks in those eight innings the non-Janish guys could still use some work on their control, but allowing just six hits is pretty impressive.
Even with Janish included the position players have a 12.60 ERA, which is a better mark than the ERAs posted by the following actual pitchers (in theory, at least) who have logged at least five innings: Chris Bootcheck (19.80), R.J. Swindle (16.20), Chris Lambert (14.85), Brian Burress (14.21), Brad Mills (14.09), Bobby Korecky (13.50), Cesar Carrillo (13.06), and Clayton Mortensen (12.86).
Hell, Chien-Ming Wang has a 9.64 ERA in 42 innings and he probably can’t even play shortstop.

  1. Karie Lavoy - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  2. Karen Miyamoto - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  3. nutrion - Jan 31, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.You have done a marvellous job!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Yet another WS run for the Giants
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Y. Molina (2550)
  2. T. Ishikawa (2390)
  3. M. Bumgarner (2253)
  4. L. Cain (2048)
  5. J. Shields (1997)