Lindbergh: Saluting MLB roster-spot survivors

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus on June 24, 2014:

Major-league roster spots are precious. To make a convincing case that they should keep one, players have to pull their weight. Usually, that means making frequent in-game appearances: starting most games at a certain position, pitching several innings every fifth day, or popping out of the bullpen a few times per week. You know — playing baseball.

However, some players exhibit impressive staying power despite spending an unusually high percentage of the season observing the action from the bench or the bullpen. In some cases, they hang on despite offering little or no apparent marginal value over a freely available talent; these are the players who, some frustrated fans complain, must possess compromising pictures of their manager. Others manage to carve out a role that gives them nearly as much job security as a starter, albeit with a smaller salary and less name recognition. These extreme specialists earn their meal money in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in any earlier era.

With data provided by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, we’re able to retrospectively determine every player’s roster status on each day throughout the season. So let’s take some time to salute the roster-spot survivors — the players who’ve managed to accrue the most service time with the least playing time.

Here are the 10 players from 2013 who made the fewest plate appearances or faced the fewest batters while sticking on an active big-league roster, without interruption, from Opening Day until October.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 24, 2014. Last Updated: June 24, 2014.