Andrew Romine isn’t a pitcher, and yet, on Sunday, Andrew Romine pitched. So did — in another game — Chase d’Arnaud. Two days before that, Charlie Culberson took the mound, and so did — in another game — Andrew Romine. Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn pitched the day before that. Brandon Dixon pitched a few days before that.
I’m sure you’ve read by now more than enough summaries of how position players are making more and more appearances on the mound. It’s already happened 14 times in August alone, a month that isn’t even two-thirds complete. This is apparently just a part of the game now — rare, but no longer rare and so exciting. Some people still like it. Some people are troubled. Just in general, from the simplest perspective, it’s probably not good to have pitching done by non-pitchers.
I’m not here to make any suggestions. I’m not here to conduct any meaningful analysis. I just figured we’ve had enough position players pitching that we might as well take a quick look at some numbers. What’s actually taken place so far in 2018? Here are teams sorted in descending order of innings thrown by non-pitchers. You also see the total runs allowed by those position players.
The Diamondbacks and Brewers lead the way, at 6.1 innings. Viewed another way, I guess you could say the Diamondbacks and Brewers are in last place. Five teams haven’t yet had a position player pitch — the Pirates, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Rockies.
Now here are teams sorted in descending order of innings thrown by non-pitchers against them. You also see the total runs scored against those position players.
The Dodgers are in first, having batted for eight innings against non-pitchers. Over those eight innings, they’ve scored eight runs. Five teams have yet to face a position player pitching — the Pirates, Tigers, Giants, White Sox, and Mariners.
At last, here are team run differentials, considering only innings thrown by position players for and/or against:
In what we’ll simply refer to as “stupid baseball,” the Nationals are the winners, having outscored their opponents by six. The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by five. At the other end, the Phillies are running away with things. While they’ve scored three runs against position players, their own position players have combined to allow 14, yielding a run differential of -11. On the plus side, those runs are basically pointless, since almost every single position-player pitching appearance comes when the game has already been decided. The Phillies’ overall run differential might be 77 runs worse than the Braves’, but at least part of that can be ignored. When position players pitch, it’s hardly regular baseball.
Two teams remain who haven’t yet seen a position player pitch for or against. Those teams are the Pirates and Tigers. For those clubs, at least, the act might retain some of its novelty. There’s still another week and a half before rosters expand, and position players stop doing this. We’ll see if the two ballclubs hold out.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.