Randy Flores was largely forgettable for the Rockies in 2010, but he provides us with one spectacular teaching moment for our children and/or those strictly adhering to ERA as the prime measurement of a pitcher's performance.
When Flores was signed to a major league contract worth $650k on November 5, 2009, it turned heads. The lefty had an uninspiring 5.25 ERA with the Rockies the previous year, and Joe Beimel was still available! VAPORS! As it turns out, the USC alum was not blocking Beimel's roster spot, as Beimel signed in March for just $200k more. Instead, Flores was blocking rookie Matt Reynolds, who tore up AAA this season.
At any rate, Flores produced a sparkly 2.96 ERA with the Rockies in 2010, appearing to be worth the early contract before he was designated for assignment in August. Some were appalled that Colorado would let such a nice ERA go for free.
Yet Flores is the posterboy for ignoring ERA. Operating as a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy), Randy averaged less than 2.5 batters faced and less than two outs recorded per appearance. Without starting and finishing innings on a regular basis, runners he allowed to reach base were consistently left stranded by other relievers. Indeed, 85.5% of the baserunners who reached off Flores were stranded (MLB average=72.2%), much of that thanks to the rest of the bullpen.
Flores allowed 14 free passes to just 18 strikeouts, had some issues with the long ball and ended up rating as a NEGATIVE 0.2 WAR on Fangraphs because of it. Despite facing an almost equal number of RH and LH batters, three of the four home runs he allowed were to lefties. That is just not effective pitching.
Evidently, someone in the front office has a sabermetric slant to their analysis, because a traditional view of baseball statistics would have possibly gotten him a guaranteed 2011 contract in Colorado.
Instead, Flores was picked up by Minnesota, where he retired just 11 of he 23 batters he faced. He is free agent and will likely get picked up as a non-roster invitee by a team in February or March.