Levine: Should teams use position players to pitch with a huge lead?

From SABR member Zachary Levine at FoxSports.com on August 13, 2015:

The Indians were still a long way from wrapping up a 17-4 pounding of the Twins on Saturday when the speculation began among fans watching and writers covering the pound-ee side.

Who would be the position player who got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk out to the bullpen and see how the other half earns its more precarious living, albeit pitching with no pressure given the infinitesimal leverage of a blowout of such magnitude? Mike Berardino, Twins beat writer for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, called his shot early and nailed it.


There was no speculation on the other side, though. Who would be the position player to march out there for Cleveland and protect the 13-run cushion that you don’t really need a pitcher to protect? There would be no reason to speculate.

Two hundred and eighty-six times in baseball’s recorded history, a position player has taken the mound to pitch – not counting the Brooks Kieschnick-esque two-way types and anyone else who pitched more than five times in his career. Not one of them came in when his team was leading.

The most obvious reason beyond the chances of a comeback, which might not be as realistic as common wisdom might suggest, is that the team that’s leading isn’t likely the team that just got a short performance out of its starting pitcher. If you’re giving up double-digit runs, you’re likely to have put some stress on your bullpen.

Read the full article here: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/position-players-pitching-huge-lead-twins-indians-shane-robinson-081115

Originally published: August 13, 2015. Last Updated: August 13, 2015.