KANSAS CITY MO - JULY 28: Starting pitcher Brian Bannister #19 of the Kansas City Royals warms-up just prior to the start of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 28 2010 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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During his time with the Kansas City Royals, Brian Bannister developed something of a loyal following among a certain group of fans. However, he didn't develop a similar following among Major League front office executives, and it's for that reason that the free agent righty has opted to leave the continent.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the 29-year-old Bannister has signed a one-year contract with Japan's Tokyo . The contract also comes with a club option.
Bannister became a popular player with the Royals when he opened up about how often he reads about modern statistical analysis. He claimed to use statistical principles to help him on the mound, and was known to write off exceptional successes and failures as luck. However, while Bannister could talk a big game, he couldn't translate his knowledge to the field often enough, and last year posted a 6.34 ERA. His career ERA over nearly 700 innings is 5.08, and with such pedestrian numbers and such a pedestrian repertoire, he couldn't find work stateside. For that reason, he's following the path of countless other Major Leaguers who ran into a wall.
Given his young age, it's possible that Bannister could return to the States down the line, not unlike the Rangers' Colby Lewis. But for now, fans of statistically enlightened starting pitchers will have to look elsewhere for a hero.