Ross Ohlendorf / Icon SMI

The Red Sox have signed Ross Ohlendorf, who pitched for the Pirates over the last few years.

Numerous reports about the signing have cited the fact that Ohlendorf has a 2-14 record over the last 2 seasons. That’s true, but what does it really mean?

First take a look at 2009. Ohlendorf started 29 games, had a 106 ERA+ in 172.2 innings, and an 11-10 record. That seems fine…he was a little better than average and had a slightly above-average winning percentage. The only thing that sticks out as unusual is that for a guy who averaged just under 6 innings per start, he got a decision fairly frequently–in 21 out of 29 starts.

In 2010, his numbers were similar. His WHIP went up a little and his ERA+ went down to 99. Still, he was about league average in 21 starts and 108.1 innings. Somehow he earned a 1-11 record. That’s not right. His neutralized pitching stats (see here, at the bottom of the page) say he deserved a 5-6 record that year.

In fact, looking at his 2010 game log, he had only 4 games where he allowed more than 4 runs. He had 4 losses in games where he allowed 2 runs or fewer. He had 6 other starts where he allowed 2 runs or fewer and got a no-decision (not counting a 7/28 start where he recorded only 2 outs.)

Granted, in 2011, he was awful, but that was in just 38.2 innings. Over those innings he allowed a whopping 60 hits plus 15 walks and 6 hit batters. That’s a problem. But if he was just injured in 2011 and can return to 2010 form, he would make a fine 4th or 5th starter for any team.

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