Pirates vs NL Central: Part 1

There isn’t going to be much to this but I thought I’d gave a brief synopsis of how the Pirates compared to the rest of the NL Central this year. Since the Astros are leaving I will exclude them and focus on the 4 hold overs. The first aspect I’m going to compare is offense. I will also look at field and pitching at later dates. I will also take a look at each position later on. I’m going to look at HR and ISO for power, OBP and K:BB ratio for plate discipline, SB% and BsR for base running and wRC+ and WAR for overall value.

Power

Brewers: 202 HR, .177 ISO

Reds: 172 HR, .159 ISO

Pirates: 170 HR, .152 ISO

Cardinals: 159 HR, .150 ISO

Cubs: 137 HR, .138 ISO

Plate Discipline

Cardinals: .338 OBP, 2.2 K:BB

Brewers: .325 OBP, 2.7 K:BB

Reds: .315 OBP, 2.6 K:BB

Pirates: .304 OBP, 3.0 K:BB

Cubs: .302 OBP, 2.8 K:BB

Base Running

Pirates: 9.2 BsR, 58% SB%

Reds: 5.3 BsR, 76% SB%

Cardinals: -1.2 BsR, 71% SB%

Brewers: -1.4 BsR, 80% SB%

Cubs: -2.2 BsR, 68% SB%

Overall

Cardinals: 107 wRC+, 34.8 WAR

Brewers: 106 wRC+, 34.8 WAR

Reds: 93 wRC+, 27.2 WAR

Pirates: 89 wRC+, 21.6 WAR

Cubs: 80 wRC+, 14.7 WAR

Overview: The above numbers tell us a few things but I will look at each category.

1) Power: The Pirates power numbers are right in line with the Cardinals and Reds for the middle of the division. When trying to size up where the Pirates need to improve next season being able to bring the power isn’t really one of those areas.

2) Plate Discipline: The Cubs were last in all but two categories one was  SB%, which I’ll discuss next, and the other K:BB ratio. The Pirates had the worst K:BB ratio of these 5 tams and were only slightly better than the Cubs in OBP. This is probably the Pirates biggest weakness and will need to be addressed in a big way.

3) Base Running: The Cubs are last in all but two categories and the Pirates are last in those two. As we all know the Pirates need a lot of work with their stolen base game, 58% is honestly horrible and unacceptable for a team with the speed of the Pirates. On the plus side, BsR a stat that measures everything base running related except for stolen bases rates the Pirates quite well showing that they nearly added an extra win to their total by how well they ran the bases.

4) Overall: I’m going to skip over WAR for now as that also accounts for defense. In wRC+ which is a good summary stat of offensive production the Pirates fall behind the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds. While it isn’t necessary to lead the division in this category coming in 4th is probably not going to allow you to compete to often. With improvements in plate discipline this will hopefully also improve.

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