Well, we haven't shared any #LNPStories with you in a bit, and we tripped over one as we assembled the 1882 Season Report.
So let's talk about Fernando Rodríguez.
First off, if you're unfamiliar with 1880s baseball, these stats might make Fernando look about average, maybe a bit below.
An equivalent pitcher, in today's MLB environment, would have an ERA of 5.52, an FIP of 5.66, and a WAR of -1.1.
Better? Let's move on.
Los Petros have always been a little unconventional. With the ninth overall pick in the 1871 draft, they chose SS Jorge Peña—one of only four teams, out of 78, to sign a non-pitcher with their first pick.
They had done well at first, and sank since. So they signed Rodríguez.
In some ways, that already makes Rodríguez pretty special. Most teams would've cut him and tried their luck on the winter market, but the Petroleros have kept him around, even as he bottomed out.
In his most recent season, at age 31, Rodríguez went 7-34 with an ERA of 3.96.
Most teams would have responded by signing a few pitching prospects. Even in March of 1885, reliever Juan López was still listed as an available free agent in the Gaceta.
The Petroleros did not attempt to sign him, or anyone else.
They did not sign any pitchers in 1884, either.
They also did not sign any pitchers in 1883. Or 1882, or 1881.
Or 1880, 1879, 1878, 1877, or 1876.
In fact, Fernando Rodríguez—who, again, signed with the team in 1875—is the Petroleros' most recent pitching acquisition.
They've gone ten years without a new pitcher.
- haven't sniffed the postseason since 1874;
- haven't finished .500 since 1876;
- haven't signed a single pitcher in a decade;
- haven't carried more than three pitchers in a decade, either.
(Note: perhaps we've found the LNP's equivalent of the New York Mets.)
But back to Fernando Rodríguez, our original protagonist.
Why do we concern ourselves with a middling pitcher, even if he has to shoulder the burden of getting a team like the Petroleros through each season with no bullpen only two colleagues, both of whom are just as exhausted?
Of those 87 pitches, 53 were strikes, but Rodríguez didn't strike out a single batter.
He also didn't walk any Maratonistas, though he hit one.
The other thing he didn't allow any Maratonista to do was reach base safely. (His second baseman did allow a single base on error.)
If you want more ways in which the #PetrolerosPEÑ of this era are horrendously mismanaged, consider that they had two of the league’s most thunderous bats in the aforementioned SS Peña and LF Guillermo Gómez.
Peña is the only person to hit .400 since the 38-game season of 1871. He’s the only person to post an OPS above .900 between 1871 and 1883.
The team he’s on hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 1876 because they refused to develop a single solitary pitcher.
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