It is important to compare the Pirates offense to league average because it is likely that their pitching/defense is only slightly better than league average. If they hope to win 75-85 games this year, they are going to have to score something close to a league average number of runs.
Last week, I began tracking Runs Allowed to 90% of NL Avg. There are three reasons for tracking Runs Allowed at this lower rate:
- It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the offense will come within 5% of NL average runs. If the Pirates are going to end up close to 80 wins, they’re going to have to allow (well) below NL average number of runs per game.
- If the offense were to have stunning turnaround, allowing only 90% of league average runs would make them a pennant contender
- League average runs allowed would be a disappointment at this point. Expectations are that they will remain, at least, slightly below NL Avg. To finish 90% league average would be special accomplishment for the staff, even if the offense never comes around.
This week’s numbers:
The Pirates played seven games this week and scored 21 runs – an average of 3.00 RS/G. Their RS/G increased to 2.88, from 2.85. Last week they needed to average 4.41 runs to reach NL average by the end of the season. That number has increased to 4.46. In other words, the Pirates offense will have to score at a rate of 10% above the current NL average for the rest of the season in order to reach a NL average number of runs.
- Blue = The average RS/G for the week.
- Red= The average RS/G for the season
- Green = The number of RS/G the Pirates will have to score in order to reach league average.
The Pirates played seven games this week and allowed 31 runs – an average of 4.42 RA/G. Their RA/G increased to 3.65, from 3.50. Last week they needed to average 3.86 Runs Allowed to remain below 90% NL average by the end of the season. That number has decreased to 3.65. In other words, the Pirates pitching/defense will have to give up 10% less runs than current NL average for the rest of the season in order remain below 90% league average RA/G.
Each week I update the Pythagorean record of the Pirates based on two scenarios:
- Pirates offense scoring NL average runs; and the defense allowing its actual average runs
- Pirates defense allowing NL average runs; and the offense scoring its actual average runs.
This is the type of week that should make Pirates fans very nervous – the pitching/defense showed signs of regressing, and the hitting remained stagnant. In fact, the pitching/defense has given up over 4.40 RA/G, two of the last three weeks.
The level of offensive futility this season is staggering. A few numbers to put things in perspective.
- The Pirates K% is 23.8%. The highest K% in MLB history is 24.7% (2010 Dbacks). At their current pace, Pirates would end with 2nd highest.
- The Pirates BB% is 6.1%. Since 1969, the lowest BB-rate is 6.1%, by the 2002 Tigers.
- Entering Sunday’s game, the Pirates wOBA was .268. The current pace is fourth lowest in MLB history (since 1903). Lowest ever is .264, ’63 Colt 45’s.
- The Pirates on base percentage is .269. The Lowest in history (1903) is .266, ’08 Superbas. Current pace is second lowest.
- The highest individual K% for a season is 35.4% by Mark Reynolds, 2010. Pedro Alvarez K% is currently 36.5%.
- Without Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates slashes are .203/.253/.321 .574OPS
- Clint Barmes has one in 129 plate appearances. That is worst in the league .(.8 BB%)
- Finally, if they maintain their current pace, the Pirates will score 466 runs this year. The lowest total for a 162 game schedule is 463, by ’68 White Sox
- The Pirates K/BB ratio is 3.92. Since 1913, the highest full season K-to-BB ratio is 3.17 by the 1968 New York Mets.
That’s it for this week. We’ll see where things stand next Sunday after the Pirates play the Mets and Cubs at home. The Pirates won’t face the difficult slate of starting pitchers this week that they did last week, so we should expect things to get better. They really can’t get much worse – can they?
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