Great Moments in Pitching Statistics: Jim Johnson with the hold, Joe Nathan with the win

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Gotta love the arbitrariness of the pitching decision stats. There are wins, losses, holds and saves, and all of them are subject to silliness. Two great examples happened yesterday.

In the A’s-Twins game, Jim Johnson came into the game with a two-run lead in the ninth, loaded the bases with a single and a couple of walks, then allowed the Twins to single in a run, leaving the bases loaded. Dan Otero comes in and allows a sac fly and retires the rest of the guys he faces. Johnson gets the hold — considered a positive decision for a relief pitcher — and Otero gets the blown save, even though he did almost everything he could to limit the damage done by Johnson.

In the Tigers-Dodgers game, closer Joe Nathan came into the ninth inning with a three-run lead. He have up a homer, two walks and a single to load the bases, then allowed two of those three base runners to score, blowing the lead and sending the game to extra innings. Though he wouldn’t throw another pitch in the game, he was still the pitcher of record when Victor Martinez hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th, so Nathan got the win.

Just remember that the next time someone cites saves, holds, wins or blown saves to explain why a given pitcher is good or bad.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.