While sifting through some trade rumors tonight, I came across one where the Giants are interested in Orioles reliever Will Ohman. I hadn’t heard much about Ohman this year, so I was curious about his stats and something stood out to me as rare.

Ohman has appeared in 48 games for a total of 28.0 innings for Baltimore, but he has yet to factor in a decision in any of those games. He’s 0-0 on the year. So I wondered—how many pitchers pitched in a handful of games and ended up with a nothing and nothing record? You can tell where this is going. I pulled up Baseball Reference’s Play Index and searched pitchers since 1901 that appeared in at least 30 games and had exactly zero wins and zero losses. The list found only 38 players.

Ohman is second on the list, tied with Scott Aldred of the Devil Rays with 48 games in 1998. As the list proves—this is a pretty rare thing to do. Trevor Miller, who now pitches for the Cardinals, is first on the list when he appeared in a ridiculous 76 games (46.1 IP) without recording a win or a loss in 2007 as a member of the Astros bullpen. A win/loss record is definitely misleading for a pitcher, but I find it bizarre and fluky that some of these relievers never factored in a decision all season.

Here are some brief observations from this list:

  • The majority of these pitchers finished a lot of games when they were 0-0, but the most saves any of them recorded was three in the year, which means they pitched a lot in games where their team was already losing or ahead by a wide margin. Ohman has eight GF this year and while he has no saves, he does own 14 holds. So the bottom line is Ohman has been pretty effective this year in relief (2.57 ERA) and he’s been able to hold onto his team’s leads.
  • The pitchers on the list are mostly from the past 20 years, especially the 2000’s decade. This is obviously due to the game changing from the days when starting pitchers went the distance almost every time out and the use of relievers was entirely different. The earliest names on the list is Jhonny Murphy from 1947 and Eddie Erautt from 1951. After those two, the next earliest is in 1982.
  • Not only is 2010 the year of the pitcher, but the relievers rule this board so far (mainly because we’re only halfway through the season), but also on the list from 2010 besides Ohman are Carlos Villanueva of the Brewers (42 G, 46.0 IP) Sergio Santos of the White Sox (35 G, 30.0 IP), Joaquin Benoit of the Rays (33 G, 31.2 IP), Damaso Marte of the Yankees (30 G, 17.2 IP) and Logan Ondrusek of the Reds (30 G, 27.2 IP). However, I doubt all of these pitchers will end the year 0-0.
  • And lastly, the majority of these pitchers were effective throughout the year and ended with a nice ERA. The exception seems to be Mike Flanagan of the Orioles in his final season in the majors in 1992. Flanagan, mainly a starter for most of his career, somehow appeared in 42 games with an 8.05 ERA and did not lose one game. Looking at his game logs from that year, he really wasn’t totally awful but had a couple awful outings to balloon his ERA to more than eight. He did pick up 10 holds that year, but also pitched in a lot of games when the O’s were already trailing.

This isn’t exactly big news, but I found the stat intriguing. It will be interesting to follow Ohman and Villanueva to see if they keep up their 0-0 records.

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