Pittsburgh Pirates WAR Surprises

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Mar 23, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher

A.J. Burnett

(34) and catcher

Francisco Cervelli

(29) talk during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As we all know, the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates catcher position has been greatly debated this season. It came as a surprise to me that none of the catchers on the roster project above 1.0.

Francisco Cervelli is coming off a season where he appeared in just 49 games for the Yankees and posted a 1.2 WAR. This season he is being projected as a 0.9.

Tony Sanchez posted a 0.0 WAR last season as he only saw action in 26 games. This season Sanchez projects at a 0.7 WAR.

Finally, Chris Stewart had a 1.0 last season in limited action, just 49 games, behind Russell Martin. This season he projects as a 0.4.

Based on projections, Pirates fans should hope to see these projections be extremely low for ONE of these catchers. Health and playing time will be the key factors. At this point, I don’t think it is realistic to see any of the three reach a WAR of 4.9 like Russell Martin posted last season. However, in order to succeed, I would believe we need one of these catchers to finish with a WAR in the 2.0 range.

Speaking of Russell Martin, Martin’s 4.9 was his best season since 2008 when he was with the Dodgers. Martin’s move to Pittsburgh from New York was a big change and you can see that just by looking at his numbers. His two years in New York were 2.4 and 2.0. Once he came to Pittsburgh, His WAR doubled to 4.0 in his first year here. Perhaps this gives us a glimmer of hope that Cervelli can show similar success in moving from the large market Yankees to the smaller market Pirates.

Next, we move to the mound…..

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