2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Gradeout – Sean Rodriguez


The offseason is unfortunately here and so we are simultaneously tasked with reflecting on the 2015 season and looking forward to next spring. As part of Rumbunter’s off-season coverage, we will be grading out virtually every member of the Pittsburgh Pirates who spent substantial time on the team’s 25-man roster over the past season. We will look at their seasons as a whole, show you their relevant stats, and assign a final grade to each player. Today’s entry: Sean Rodriguez

The day of the 2015 National League Wildcard game featured one of the more ridiculous surprises in recent memory when it was announced that Sean Rodriguez would be starting at first base for the Pirates. Social Media was understandably upset with this announcement and there was much venom. I am willing to bet if you ask most Pirates’ fans who the worst player on the team is, they’d like answer Sean Rodriguez. Any time he played it caused a whole heap of anger at both Rodriguez and Clint Hurdle for daring to play him. Was the hate justified? Lets take a look at how S-Rod graded out in 2015.

Most people knew when the Pirates acquired Rodriguez that he was going to primarily be a defense first player and anything he’d do with the bat would be extra. Offensively he had a fairly underwhelming season with the bat. He hit for substantially less power than in 2014, and was especially bad in the first half of the season as he hit .220AVG/.250OBP/.339SLG/.589OPS with only eight extra base hits.

If Rodriguez hit like that for the entire season, he’d be a huge failure of a player, but he was able to successfully turn it around offensively following the All Star Break. He was far from an All Star, but he was a very serviceable bench piece for the Pirates and I think that’s pretty much all anyone can ask for from a spare part type player.

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Offense is only half the game, but for a mostly defensive minded player, it’s not the most important part. Sean was brought in for his defensive value and the ability to field multiple positions well and for the most part, he really played that part well.

He was a passable defender at nearly every position where he got consistent playing time:

  • First Base: 4.4UZR/150 in 326.2 innings
  • Second Base: 46.1UZR/150 in 34.1 innings
  • Third Base: 45.7UZR/150 34.2 innings
  • Left Field: 0.8UZR/150 in 84.1 innings
  • Right Field: 7.6UZR/150 in 74 innings

Rodriguez has always been a very solid defender at second and third base, but he is far from the elite level his numbers showed, but part of his game is filling in at various positions when called upon, so by that metric, he did his job extremely well. Rodriguez is more the player he was at first base and right field, a mostly above average defender and you can blame the league average left field play with having to play a bulk of those innings in PNC Park’s cavernous left field.

Baseball is a two sided game and you can’t fully separate poor offense from solid defense, but it’s kind of what you have to do with Rodriguez. He’s not a guy you can really depend on to win a game with his bat, but he can be counted on defensively at multiple positions, which is exactly why the Pirates acquired him from the Rays last off season. He still left a lot to be desired offensively, but overall despite the internet hate, he mostly played his part and was exactly the player the Pirates thought they were getting.

Pittsburgh Pirates. SEAN RODRIGUEZ. C-. Sean Rodriguez was a mostly below average hitter in 2015 and a mostly above average defender at various positions. You can’t separate one from the other, which is why Sean Rodriguez earns a C- from me. His defensive versatility almost makes up for his unimpressive offensive season. Though he still had no business starting in the NL Wildcard Game.. 1B/2B/3B/OF

You’ve heard our take. Now it’s your turn. Sound off in the comments below, OR let us know on twitter.

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