The Luckiest Man Alive

In a few hours, Livan Hernandez will take the hill against the Mets, and he will look to continue one of the luckiest runs in the history of major league baseball.

A quick look at the gap between Hernandez’s ERA (1.46) and his xFIP (5.09) would tell that he’s gotten fortunate, but I don’t even think those numbers do justice just how incredibly Hernandez has walked the tightrope this season.

He’s thrown 49 1/3 innings in his seven starts and allowed just nine runs while putting 51 men on base. Well, that’s not really true, because he’s allowed six home runs, so those guys were never really “baserunners” in the sense that most of us think of the word. Take the home runs out of the picture, and Hernandez has put 45 guys on base. Three of them have scored.

Three. Out of 45.

And the hilarious part is that he hasn’t even pitched all that well with runners on base. He’s pitched to 71 hitters when there as at least one man on. Of those 71, he’s walked nine, struck out just six, and posted an okay-but-not-spectacular 47% groundball percentage. However, opponents have an .054 batting average on balls in play against him in those situations. Oh Fifty Four.

It’s even better when opponents have put a runner in scoring position. In the 38 batters who have faced Hernandez with a chance to drive in a run, one has gotten a hit, and it was a single. Opponents are 1 for 30 with seven walks and a sac fly against Livan in RISP situations. Only four of those 29 outs were strikeouts.

I figured I should write about this while I still had the chance, because every time he takes the hill, there’s a chance it will all just blow up. No one can sustain this for very long, especially not a guy who just throws the ball over the plate and hopes the ball finds one of his fielders. But yet, for seven miraculous starts, Hernandez has seen just that happen.

It’s one of the most amazing things we’ll ever see on a baseball field.

We hoped you liked reading The Luckiest Man Alive by Dave Cameron!

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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dlb
Guest
dlb

That’s funny; I was just looking at Justin Masterson’s BABIP of .412 and thinking, ‘wow, that’s unlucky.’ (his is the current highest in MLB)

Teej
Member
Member
Teej

Out of pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings, he’s also giving up more line drives than anyone in baseball. So the BABIP is probably higher than it should be, but it’s not insanely unlucky.

Alex
Guest
Alex

“Out of pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings, he’s also giving up more line drives than anyone in baseball.”

This isn’t even close to accurate.

Lintyfresh
Guest

The line drive comment was about Masterson, not Livo.

Masterson does have the highest line drive % out of all pitchers with 30 IP.

Alex
Guest
Alex

“Masterson does have the highest line drive % out of all pitchers with 30 IP.”

No he does not. The stats are posted on this very site; it should not be hard for you guys to figure this out. After you click “30 IP” then you have to sort the table again. Masterson is just at the table of the random set by default.

Masterson LD%: 21.5

There are like 30 guys with worse rates, such as:

Bud Norris: 27.4

or

Matt Harrison: 23.4