Koji Uehara’s inability to keep the ball in the ballpark since coming to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Orioles has gotten the previously dominant reliever removed from the World Series roster.
Texas also removed fellow reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from the roster, adding right-hander Mark Lowe and catcher Matt Treanor in their place.
Treanor will serve as the Rangers’ third catcher behind Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba, while Lowe will replace Uehara and Tateyama in a low-leverage middle relief role after missing the past month with a hamstring injury. Lowe had a 3.80 ERA and 42/19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings during the regular season.
Uehara’s struggles obviously led to his removal from the roster, but it also speaks to Texas’ exceptional bullpen depth that Uehara and Tateyama aren’t needed after combining to throw 109 innings with a 3.22 ERA and 128/20 K/BB ratio this season. For a lot of teams they’d be the primary late-inning relief options.
Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.
Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.
All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.