A week ago I wrote about what it would take for the Pirates offense to return to league average. You can read that post here. I used 2011 NL league average as the baseline, and I will continue to do so for this post. (There is evidence that the run environment is going to be down this year from 2011. We’ll give that a few more weeks to shake out.)
Seven days later I can report some limited progress with the Pirates offense. Importantly, they will not come close to 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119) abysmally awful wOBA in April (.231). Pittsburgh is safely in the high .250-range with one game left to go in the month. Moreover, they will not fall under the ’03 Tigers 2.27 Runs/Game in March/April, unless they get shut out tonight (4/30).
As I stated in the original post, the reason it is important to compare the Pirates offense to league average is because it is likely that their pitching staff is only slightly better than league average. They are pitching well right now, but it won’t be like this all season. They are going to need something close to a league average offense if they hope to win 75-85 games this year.
Now, a look at the numbers.
The graphs are pretty self-explanatory except “2011″ is last year’s NL average, and “Rest of 2012″ is what the Pirates offense will have to average the rest of this season to end up with 2011 NL average.
The Pirates offense averaged 3.1 runs over the last seven days, improving their overall Runs/Game to 2.3. However, even though they scored at a slightly higher rate, the average number of runs they will have to score the rest of the season actually rose .004, to 4.39. For context, 4.39 R/G is about what the Milwaukee Brewers and the Detroit Tigers offenses are currently averaging. The Pirates offense will have to score like those offenses did in April, for the rest of the year.
The Pirates offense batted .269 over the last seven days, improving their overall Avg. to .224. However, even though they hit at a slightly higher rate, the batting average they will have to maintain the rest of the way has not changed. For context, the Houston Astros are currently hitting at a .258 pace.
The Pirates on base percentage was .313 over the last seven days, improving their cumulative OBP to .276. However, even though they got on base at a slightly higher rate, the OBP they will have to maintain the rest of the way has not changed. For context, the Colorado Rockies currently have a .325 OBP.
The Pirates slugging percentage was .419 pace over the last seven days (Thank you Pedro), improving their cumulative SLG to .326. Their improved slugging lowered the rate they will need to maintain in order to achieve league average by .002. For context, the LA Dodgers currently have a.400 SLG.
The offense improved over the last week, if only slightly. In 2 of the 4 categories they performed over their target pace. However, they still lag far behind in the most important stat, runs scored. With the roster as currently constituted it is difficult to imagine that changing drastically enough to achieve league average.
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