The Pittsburgh Pirates are on pace for the worst offensive April since the 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119). On April 22, the Pirates’ wOBA is .238; the 2003 Tigers ended April with a .231 wOBA. Moreover, their average runs scored per game puts them on pace for either the 2nd or 3rd worst in the last 20 years. (The 2004 Expos 1.8 R/G in April is probably safely out of reach.)
It is very unlikely that the Pirates will end with a record nearly as bad as the 2003 Tigers, primarily because it appears their pitching and defense will be right around league average, if not slightly (very slightly) above. So, if the ’12 Pirates want to come close to 75-85 wins, their offense will have to perform at league average, or just slightly below.
Using 2011 N.L. league averages as a baseline, I calculated the rate at which the PIrates offense will have to perform in order for them to finish with a league average offense in 2012. (Of course, 2012 league averages will not end up being exactly the same as 2011, but using 2011 as a benchmark is reasonable this early in the season.)
- 2012=Current Pirates
- 2011=League Average 2011
- Rest of 2012 = The rate the Pirates will have to perform at for the rest of 2012 in order to attain 2011 league average.
- Calculations based on the assumption that the Pirates finish the 2012 season with about the 2011 league average number of PAs and ABs.
The Pirates will have to average 4.34 runs a game to reach the 2011 runs/game league average. For perspective, the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies offense averaged 4.40 runs a game. The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates did not come close to averaging 4.34 Runs/Game in any month.
The Pirates will have to have to bat .257 the rest of the way to reach the 2011 National League batting average. For perspective, the 2011 New York Mets offense averaged .257, and they had the 4th best Avg. in the NL. The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates batted .256 in June, other than that they did not come close.
The Pirates will have to have to have a .325 OBP% the rest of the way to reach the 2011 National League on base percentage average. For perspective, the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers had a .325 OBP%, 5th in the NL. The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates highest OBP% was .316 in May.
The Pirates will have to have a .402 SLG. the rest of the season to reach the 2011 National League slugging percentage average. For perspective, the 2011 Chicago Cubs had a .401 SLG, 6th in NL. The 2011 Pirates highest SLG. was .399 in September/October. Other than that they were not close.
With no significant offensive upgrades added to the roster during the off season, it is hard to imagine the Pirates offense generating enough runs to make a run at a league average offense in 2012.
While you are here, these two studies may interest you:
1. Baseballreference.com similarity scores for the every team in the MLB. (Link)
2. Total Defense Tool – a measure of team defense that expresses its results in team wins. (Link)
For lots of baseball tweets and talk (especially during Pirates and Tigers games), consider following me on twitter @fromupperdeck.
Thanks for stopping by.