Measuring the Pirates Offense

My very first post besides the introduction to the site was looking at how the Pirates performances from individual positions compared to the National League average. I am now going to take this time to look and see how the Pirates offense as a whole compares to the National League average.

The obvious place to start is to compare the entire season’s performances. So we will look a the slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) for the NL and the Pirates.

NL: .251/.318/.386 (.704 OPS)

Pirates: .247/.315/.365 (.679 OPS)

Looking at those numbers it appears the Pirates are close to league average when it comes to batting average an OBP but are lacking in slugging percentage some. That is in line with what everyone should expect, we know the Pirates have some ability to get on base but overall lack power. However to find out if this is the true story a closer look is needed.

Lets start by looking at the last 28 days (which should give us a better comparison of how these Pirates stack up).

NL: .251/.313/.389 (.702 OPS)

Pirates: .267/.324/.392 (.716 OPS)

As expected the NL slashes over the last 28 days stays just about the same as the NL season slashes. However the Pirates batting avergae and slugging percentage are both up a decent amount. The OBP also seen a slight improvement and all 3 numbers are actually better than league average. Slugging percenatge does not tell the whole story when it comes to power though so lets look at another measurement AB/HR.

NL Season Rate: 40.3

Pirates Season Rate: 50.6

NL Last 28 Day Rate: 39.1

Pirates Last 28 Day Rate: 64.2

As you can see the Pirates have actually suffered a major drop off in home runs over the last 4 weeks. So one can not say the team’s power has improved but because of the improved line it can be said that the overall hitting has. Even with this data it is tough to figure out just how good the Pirates offense is. So lets take a monthly look.

NL: April – .709 OPS, May – .702 OPS, June – .699 OPS, July – .707 OPS

Pirates: April – .643 OPS, May – .684 OPS, June – .670 OPS, July – .786 OPS

Those numbers just complicate things even more. In April the Pirates were dreadful and in May and June they were better but still below league average. So far this month though the Pirates are quite a deal above league average. The question becomes what does the real Pirates offense look like?

Normally I would just assume as is normally the case that the truth is some where in the middle but to be honest that is a difficult approach here. The current Pirates offense is quite a deal different than that of April and May. However we can not just base projections off of the 10 games the Pirates have played this month. We can probably safely assume the Pirates will not have a well above average offense but can they be a little better than league average, I think so. Can they be worse? Again I think so. Its really anyone’s guess.

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