Report Card for Each Pittsburgh Pirates’ Hitter


It’s time to continue the year in review and look at how each Pittsburgh Pirates fared during the 2012 campaign.

To review, here’s a look at how the Pirates fared as team:

September 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones (46) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

AVG- .246 (14th in National League)

Runs- 651 (10th)

Hits- 1,313 (14th)

Doubles- 241 (15th)

Triples- 37 (6th)

Home Runs- 170 (4th)

RBI- 620 (11th)

Walks- 444 (last)

Strike Outs- 1,354 (2nd most)

Stolen Bases- 73 (last)

Caught Stealing- 52 (most)

OBP- .304 (14th)

SLG- .395 (9th)

OPS-  .699 (11th)

RISP- .240 (11th)

RISP w/ 2 out- .219 (10th)

Now let’s take a look at each individual that played a role in what turned out to be a very below average offensive team. When handing out grades, I not only took a player’s 2012 statistics into account, but expectations coming in as well.

Andrew McCutchen- .327 AVG, 593 AB, 194 H, 107 R, 29 2B, 6 3B, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 70 BB, 132 K, .400 OBP, .553 SLG, .953  OPS, 7.0 WAR: 

Considering the Pirates offense wasn’t very good, it makes the season that Cutch had even more amazing. He led the National League in hits and led the Pirates in every statistical offensive category. Some late season struggles cost him a chance at 200 hits and 100 RBI, but McCutchen put together an MVP-type season nonetheless. He was the only Pirates regular to hit over .300 or even come close to doing so. Absolutely no complaints from me on McCutchen’s 2012 campaign. Grade: A

Brock Holt- .292 AVG, 65 AB, 19 H, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 14 K, .329 OBP, .354 SLG, .693 OPS, 0.0  WAR

Holt got a brief look at the top of the order and produced petty good results initially. He naturally came back to earth, but it’s a shame that he didn’t get a brief look at shortstop down the stretch once the Bucs were out of the playoff race. It’s hard to hand out a grade to a guy that had only 65 at bats, but he did what no other Pirates leadoff hitter could do and that’s get on base. I don’t want to buy too high on Holt so he won’t get a great grade, but he did enough to draw some interest. Grade: C

August 26, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) fields a ground ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Milwaukee Brewers won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Neil Walker- .280 AVG, 472 AB, 132 H, 62 R, 27 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 69 RBI, 47 BB, 104 K, .342 OBP, .426 SLG, .768 OPS, 2.5 WAR

Who knew how important that Walker really was as once he went down, the Pirates started to slump. Walker got off to a slow start like everyone else, but was as good as anyone in the league during the month of July when he hit .358. Overall he finished with decent numbers and has established himself as one of the Pirates core pieces. Walker has his best success batting second in front of Cutch, but Clint Hurdle loves to bat him fifth. If Walker hits second for a full season, I think his numbers will increase even more. Grade: B

Garrett Jones-.274 AVG, 475 AB, 130 H, 68 R, 28 2B, 3 3B, 27 HR, 86 RBI, 33 BB, 103 K, .317 OBP, .516 SLG, .832 OPS, 1.5 WAR

On the surface Jones’ numbers are decent and he did have a career year, but it’s the same old story with Jones- a really torrid August to offset a bunch of average months. What’s amazing is the fact that he walked only 33 times in over 500 plate appearances. That’s not acceptable from a guy that’s supposed to hit in the middle of the order. He still shows poor pitch recognition and a not so good .317 OBP. The name of the game is getting on base. His WAR also sticks out as a not so good number for a guy hitting in the middle of the order. However it wasn’t a terrible season as I was modestly happy with what Jones did the second half of the season. At 31 years of age though I wouldn’t expect a similar season next year. His grade is probably a little higher than it should be based on the way everyone else struggled. Grade: B-

Starling Marte- .257 AVG, 167 AB, 43 H, 18 R, 3 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 8 BB, 50 K, .300 OBP, .437 SLG, .737 OPS, 1.0 WAR

I like what I saw from Marte in his brief look. he has the makings of a true superstar and finished the season nicely. You can see why everyone is so high on him and his future. His pitch recognition needs to improve as the strikeout number is high, but that’s expected of a young player. Grade: C

Travis Snider- .250 AVG, 128 AB, 32 H, 17 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 14 BB, 34 K, .324 OBP, .328 SLG, .652 OPS, 0.3 WAR

Snider got off to a very good start before being injured and I still like the trade, but it amazed me how much Hurdle ran Jose Tabata and Alex Presley out there instead of  Snider, as he handles the bat much better. However he wasn’t a difference maker and the absurd amount of power he is said to have never emerged. I think 2013 will be a much better season but the 2012 grade is not good. Grade: C-

September 3, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) is greeted at home plate by Pirates second baseman Brock Holt (2) after Alvarez scored a run against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Houston Astros won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Pedro Alvarez- .244 AVG, 525 AB, 128 H, 64 R, 25 2B, 1 3B, 30 HR, 85 RBI, 57 BB, 180 K, .317 OBP, .467 SLG, .784 OPS, 2.6 WAR

If I would have shown you these numbers for Pedro before the season, everyone would have been happy with them and he did that by struggling big time in April and May. Alvarez showed the ability to be a legitimate run producer and the improvements he made during the season were outstanding. He showed the ability to start going the other way and hit the ball up the middle with authority. In the process he was able to raise his average in the .240 range, which I will take. He’s a very frustrating hitter to watch at times, but what power hitter isn’t. I was very pleased with the progress Alvarez made. Grade: B

Jose Tabata- .243 AVG, 333 AB, 81 H, 43 R, 20 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 29 BB, 58 K, .315 OBP, .348 SLG, .663 OPS, -0.2 WAR

Maybe the disappointment of the season for the Bucs. He started slow and there were questions about his effort. I’m not completely writing Tabata off but he regressed big time. Grade: D

Gaby Sanchez- .241 AVG, 116 AB, 28 H, 18 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 13 BB, 20 K, .323 OBP, .397 SLG, .720 OPS, 0.3 WAR

I’m a little higher on Sanchez than most. He’s a much better first baseman than Jones and if given a regular opportunity I feel he would put up similar numbers. But Hurdle will likely never give him that opportunity. If he did I think the numbers would be much better. They didn’t give up a draft pick next year for a bench player…or did they? Grade: C-

Alex Presley- .237 AVG, 346 AB, 82 H, 46 R, 14 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 18 BB, 72 K, .279 OBP, .405 SLG, .683 OPS, -0.1 WAR

No Pirates player had a string of bad luck like Presley did. Many times he hit the ball well but had nothing to show for it. But 18 walks and only a .279 OBP shows a poor approach at the plate. That’s a problem with a lot of Pirates as they just don’t work counts well enough to get on base. Presley is especially disappointing hitting at the top of the order. Grade: D

Michael McKenry- .233 AVG, 240 AB, 56 H, 25 R, 14 2B, 0 3B, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 29 BB, 73 K, .320 OBP, .442 SLG, .762 OPS, 1.7 WAR

McKenry became a fan favorite due to a combination of a good three week stretch parlayed with Rod Barajas was really bad. But while McKenry had a nice OPS for a backup catcher and showed some pop, once he started playing more, he was exposed. He was a nice story but didn’t have a particularly good season, hitting only .233, striking out once every 3.28 at bats. I didn’t expect much of him coming into the season so he exceed expectations, but he really didn’t have a good year overall, but good enough for a backup catcher. If he has to play more, the Pirates will be in trouble. Grade: C-

Josh Harrison- .233 AVG, 249 AB, 58 H, 34 R, 9 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 10 BB, 37 K, .279 OBP, .345 SLG, .624 OPS, -0.2 WAR

When Harrison is Hurdle’s main option off the bench, it means the Bucs bench stinks and that was the case this season. I don’t understand the love affair with him. Sure he is versatile and can play many positions, but he plays none of them well. He may give you a two week hot stretch during the season and that’s about all he’s good for. Grade: D-

September 5, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes (12) hits a squeeze bunt against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Clint Barmes- .229 AVG, 455 AB, 104 H, 34 R, 16 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 20 BB, 106 K, .272 OBP, .321 SLG, .593 OPS, 1.2 WAR

Barmes didn’t have a good year with the bat, but he brings so much more to the team than offense. The facts are that if the Pirates weren’t so bad offensively, Barmes’ season wouldn’t have been as big of a black eye as it was. But when there’s guys in the lineup underachieving on a nightly basis, then there’s problems. But while I like Barmes as a player, you can’t deny the fact that he had a bad season with the bat. He’s another guy that showed no patience at the plate, walking only 20 times all season. He will be the opening day shortstop next season. One can only hope that the 2013 grade is better than this one. Grade: D+

J0rdy Mercer- .210 AVG, 62 AB, 13 H, 7 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 14 K, .265 OBP, .371 SLG, .636 OPS, 0.3 WAR

Mercer came up and got the Pedro Ciriaco treatment initially from Hurdle so we never really got a chance to see much of what he could do. Judging by 62 at bats it wasn’t much, but you never know what a guy can do with more consistent at bats. Grade: D

Rod Barajas- .206 AVG, 321 AB, 66 H, 29 R, 11 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 29 BB, 69 K, .283 OBP, .343 SLG, .625 OPS, -1.0 WAR

I was somewhat excited about the Barajas signing but he started slow and never really got it going. He could have been the major league’s worst hitter after the All-Star break. Instead of getting a guy with pop that could hit 20-plus homers, the Pirates got a guy that was extremely unpopular outside of the clubhouse. Grade: F

Jeff Clement- .136 AVG, 22 AB, 3 H, 1 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .208 OBP, .182 SLG,  .390 OPS, -0.3 WAR

Clement probably should have been called up sooner but the Bucs waited until he was slumping in the minors to do so. The bench was bad all year and Clement’s one-month run was no exception. To his credit, he was put in a very tough spot as a full-time pinch-hitter. It’s hard to expect results from a guy who doesn’t get regular playing time. Grade: F

Yamaico Navarro- .160 AVG, 50 AB, 8 H, 4 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5BB, 14 K, .232 OBP, .220 SLG, .452 OPS, -0.2 WAR

He can play a lot of positions but did nothing at all to contribute. He really showed no reason why he was in the majors on three different occasions. Grade: F

Chase d’Arnaud- .000 AVG, 6 AB, 2 R, 0 HR, 0 2B, 0, 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, .000 OBP, .000 SLG, .000 OPS, -01. WAR

I can’t really give d’Arnaud a grade because he had only six at bats, but he was on the roster at the end of the season so I included him. Grade: Incomplete

In addition guys like Matt Hague, Drew Sutton, Eric Fryer , Gorkys Hernandez, Nate McLouth and Casey McGehee  received at bats this season. Hague, Sutton and Fryer didn’t do much worth noting and weren’t on the team at the end of the season, while the other three guys were either traded or released.

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