Have you thought about Jeff Francoeur lately? You probably should think about Jeff Francoeur more. The live-armed outfielder is having a career renaissance of sorts for the El Paso Chihuahuas, moonlighting as a shutdown reliever. In his first four outings, Francoeur allowed just two hits, while striking out three and not allowing a walk.
Reminder: Francoeur is an unquestionably goofy soul for whom you can't help but root:
I want this to work so danged bad.
This probably isn't going to work. But it's fun, so fun. I'm mildly obsessed with position players pitching, working up a list last year of the last position players to pitch for each team along with a list of the best position players to pitch in the expansion era. Since then, 13 teams have had a position player pitch for them, including eight this year. The Dodgers have a $6 billion payroll, and they've used Drew Butera twice.
That's 92, with movement, on the black. Get that man a new contract. Mix in a few option years.
Because of the recent proliferation of position players pitching (and the discovery that my last list had a couple errors), it's time to update the list. Here's the last time a position player pitched for each franchise:
Red Sox: Mike Carp, 2014 (box score)
White Sox: Leury Garcia, 2014 (box score)
Cardinals: Daniel Descalso, 2014 (box score)
Brewers: Martin Maldonado, 2014 (box score)
Rangers: Mitch Moreland, 2014 (box score)
Blue Jays: Steven Tolleson, 2014 (box score)
Dodgers: Drew Butera, 2014 (box score)
Yankees: Dean Anna, 2014 (box score)
Mets: Anthony Recker, 2013 (box score)
Phillies: John McDonald, 2013 (box score)
Athletics: Frank Menenchino, 2000 (box score)
Angels: Chili Davis, 1993 (box score)
Giants: Greg Litton, 1991 (box score)
Nationals/Expos: Dave Martinez, 1990 (box score)
Braves: John Russell, 1989 (box score)
- The Braves were the losers last time, hating fun more than any other franchise, and I listed Terry Blocker as the last position player to pitch. Blocker pitched an inning of scoreless relief on June 5. But fewer than three weeks later, John Russell threw five pitches and faced one batter. Two position players in the same month, and then nothing for 25 years. Carpe diem, everyone. You never know when there's going to be a quarter-century between PPPs.
- The methodology was the same, as I searched for relievers with 10 appearances or fewer and no starts with a franchise, then searched for the players with more than 10 career at-bats. This allowed me to discover that the Twins have the most interesting list of names among relievers with fewer than 10 appearances, including Bull Durham, Harry Hedgpeth, Garland Buckeye, Red Bird, Spencer Pumpelly, Ed Wineapple, Harry Child, Ox Miller, Dick Stone.
- Harry Child.
- Something I didn't think about until this go-around is that it's remarkable that the Rockies haven't had a PPP in 12 years, considering their ballpark. There have been 38 games in which a team scored 15 runs or more at Coors Field since Todd Zeile pitched in 2002. You're telling me there hasn't been a chance for the Rockies to save their bullpen since then? Weird. Though I guess this kind of game shows up on the list of 15-run games, and it was a taut, one-run game.
- Mike Carp walked five batters. He should probably not pitch. But he also featured a knuckleball, so he should probably pitch once a week, just to amuse us.
He should definitely pitch once a week. Also, the 45 walks per nine innings pitched aren't a record. That record belongs to poor Frank Wurm, who pitched a third of an inning in his career and walked five, good for a 135 BB/9 and a 108.00 ERA. The good news was that his FIP was only 41.54.
- The Red Sox should also win some sort of award for having Jimmie Foxx pitch for them in 1939 and Ted Williams pitch for them in 1940. At least put a statue up, or something.
- Twenty-three teams have had a position player pitch in the last five years. There are just four with a drought of 20 years or more.
- Those teams hate their fans.
Get to it, Braves, Nationals, Giants, and Angels. You could probably get Jeff Francoeur for cheap, you know. There's only so much space on a 25-man roster. Why not a dual threat? Why not a dual threat, indeed.