Kenshin Kawakami is the unluckiest pitcher in the world

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Braves right-hander Kenshin Kawakami is providing this season’s best example of why wins and losses for individual pitchers are so often misleading (or worse). He lost to the Rays yesterday, falling to 0-9 despite a decent 4.42 ERA, six Quality Starts in 13 tries, and zero outings with more than five runs allowed.
To put that in some context, consider: Johnny Cueto is 6-1 with a 4.50 ERA. John Lackey is 7-3 with a 4.54 ERA. Dan Haren is 7-4 with a 4.61 ERA. Freddy Garcia is 7-3 with a 4.94 ERA. Nick Blackburn is 6-3 with a 4.96 ERA. Brian Bannister is 6-4 with a 5.40 ERA.
Even his rotation-mate Derek Lowe is 8-5 with a 4.81 ERA. In fact, a total of 20 pitchers have at least five wins despite an ERA higher than Kawakami. Not surprisingly Kawakami has received terrible support from the Braves’ lineup, bullpen, and defense.
He ranks ninth-worst in run support, third-worst in bullpen support, and errors behind him have also accounted for six unearned runs. It always bothers me when announcers talk about pitchers who “know how to win” because their win-loss record is better than their other numbers would suggest, and unfortunate guys like Kawakami at the other end of the spectrum are why.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.