Jaffe: We’ve reached peak position players pitching

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on August 20, 2019:

On Monday, Rays’ infielder Michael Brosseau took the mound. On Sunday, it was Brewers infielder Hernán Pérez, and before him, Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila on Saturday, and Reds infielder Jose Peraza on Friday. On Thursday, which now seems so long ago — seriously, do you remember what you had for dinner that night? — it was Yankees first baseman Mike Ford. If you think that home run and strikeout rates have gotten out of hand, consider the tally of position players pitching.

While teams are producing homers at a per-game rate 12% higher than the previous record (set in 2017), and while per-game strikeout rates are on the rise for the 14th straight season (up about 3% relative to last year), the single-season record for position player outings (65, set just last year, and no, that count doesn’t include Shohei Ohtani) fell earlier this month. Already, position players have taken the hill a total of 78 times this season; prorated to a full schedule, that’s 101 outings, a 55% increase on last year. And if things were to continue at the blistering pace we’ve seen since the All-Star break — 33 appearances in 39 days — the number would soar higher than the drive the Indians’ Carlos Santana hit off Ford.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/weve-reached-peak-position-players-pitching/

Originally published: August 21, 2019. Last Updated: August 21, 2019.