Miller: Are position players actually good pitchers? Yes … and no

From Sam Miller at on August 15, 2018:

From 1992 through 2006, position players made 58 pitching appearances in major league games. This year, they’ve already made 54. In that 15-year period, a fan who watched every game his or her favorite team played would have seen a position player pitch once every four years, making it a true novelty. The same fan would have seen it three or four times already this year.

Even at this frequency, a position player pitching has some entertainment value. Relative to the low-leverage alternative — the forgettable last man in the bullpen, who throws just like any other pitcher but a little worse — a position player offers a different set of emotions and a bit of unpredictability. It gives us a chance to learn something: What happens when the closest thing to your athletic cousin gets to pitch, with no training, in the major leagues?

It’s interesting because of how bad he is. But it’s more interesting because of how bad he isn’t.

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Originally published: August 15, 2018. Last Updated: August 15, 2018.