In the first arbitration hearing of the year Ross Ohlendorf has defeated the Pirates, meaning the 28-year-old right-hander will receive $2.025 million this season rather than the $1.4 million figure submitted by the team.
Ohlendorf won the case despite going 1-11 in 21 starts last season, which means he already has as many victories in 2011 as he had in all of 2010. Sort of.
With a 4.07 ERA in 108 innings (and a 3.92 ERA in 177 innings in 2009) he pitched much better than his ugly win-loss record suggests, so it’s interesting that Ohlendorf came out on top in a situation where rulings often come from people not particularly well-versed in modern baseball analysis.
Perhaps the Princeton graduate made a compelling case for himself or at least a compelling case against the importance of win-loss records for pitchers. Either way, it’s a victory for … well, not caring about victories.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.