June 20, 2012
League Average, the Long Way 'Round
On Friday, June 15, the Braves released Livan Hernandez. Although Hernandez picked up a save in May—the first of his 17-year career—the Braves thought his roster spot could be better used by Kris Medlen. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “There may be some other teams looking for a veteran guy, and I hope so. He still wants to pitch.”
While not impossible, it seems unlikely that a team will take a flyer on Livan at this stage. In the event that we’ve seen the last of Livan pitching in MLB, what follows is my eulogy for his big-league career. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always entertaining.
A Baseball Prospectus membership grants us access to many amazing things. I don’t think I could pick a favorite aspect of the site, but, if pressed, I might choose the BP Annual player comments on the player cards. They’re a great way to get insight into a player’s career, to see how his stock has risen and fallen over the years. They’re not a perfect survey or anything—they comprise the opinions of a few (admittedly very smart and knowledgeable) people about a player at the beginning of each season—but they can be very enlightening.
1997: “Has a classic pitcher’s build and by the turn of the century he should one of baseball’s best right-handers. Think Alex Fernandez.”
1999: “Maybe accepting the power of prayer and lighting a candle for St. Jobe (patron saint of successful surgeries) will let him have a career. If Boles is creative, he could put Hernandez in the pen, but that may just be delaying the inevitable.”