Before the age of analytics, our eyes were the only tools in evaluating players across all sports.
While its easy to identify talented players like Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado and Max Scherzer as the current greats of the game, it’s players on every tier below that become hard to quantify.
The advent of wins-above-replacement (WAR), a measure with no exact equation, has enabled teams and fans alike to evaluate players from a purely statistical standpoint.
That being said, it might be hard to imagine a player with a 6.20 ERA being even remotely valuable, let alone worth 3.1 bWAR.
Such is the story of Brian Bohanon.
After rejecting a two-year offer to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the left-handed starter signed a three-year, $9M deal to pitch for Colorado.
Between 1999-2000, Bohanon combined for a 5.48 earned run average during the peak of PED usage and run-scoring; since 1936, no seasons have averaged 10 or more runs per game.
With the league averaging a 4.74 ERA during those two years, Bohanon was worth 6.2 bWAR, one of the best in team history for consecutive seasons.
On this date in 2000, Bohanon made an appearance out of the bullpen as he was sporadically shuttled out of the rotation. Rolando Arroyo was unable to get through the third inning and the Texas native was there to pick up his teammate for the second time in a few weeks.
In striking out six batters in relief, Bohanon pulled into second for most strikeouts by a reliever behind only Bruce Ruffin (1993). Allan Simpson (2004) and Chi Chi González (2019) would later top Bohanon’s performance.
By stabilizing things against the San Francisco Giants – not to mention two homers and seven-RBI from Jeffrey Hammonds – the 31-year-old helped give Joe Nathan the 15-7 loss in the future closer’s final season as a starting pitcher.
In 1999, the New York Mets score three runs in both the first and second innings to hang starting pitcher John Thomson with a loss in his eighth consecutive decision. Thomson went almost a year without a win as the streak, tied for the fifth longest in franchise history, began in August of the previous season.
Miguel Olivo went 5-for-5 and punctuated a perfect day by mashing a walk-off home run against Chad Durbin in the 10th inning to lift Colorado in a 4 – 3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010.
Following an investigation based upon allegations made by the Rockies that Phillies’ bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer stole signs from the right-centerfield bullpen with binoculars for a game two days earlier on May 10th, MLB issued a warning to Philadelphia.
Carlos Beltran beat Colorado on this date in 2011 by recording three dingers to all fields and homering from both sides of the plate during a six-RBI performance to lead the Mets over the Rockies, 9-5.
The Colorado Kid
In the 2018 season in which he finished fourth-place in the National League Cy Young Award voting, Kyle Freeland tossed 6.1 scoreless innings as Bryan Shaw, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis completed a shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field, 4-0.
Luis A. Gonzalez lofted a pinch-hit homer in the ninth, but it’s far from enough as the Houston Astros pummel the Rockies, 12-2 at Minute Maid Park in 2006.
On This Day In Baseball History
In 1970, Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Ernie Banks hits his 500th career home run – which records his 1,600th RBI – during a 4 – 3 victory over Atlanta at Wrigley Field.