Pittsburgh Pirates: Statistical Saturday

May 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle watches from the dugout during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle watches from the dugout during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Baseball, a game like no other, is abundant with statistics. There are the old school ones such as runs batted in, batting average, and wins, the beginning of advanced stats such as on-base percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage, and the new advanced stats such as weighted runs created plus, wins above replacement, and fielding independent pitching. Today, a look at some interesting Pirates numbers and trends.

On July 1, 2015 against the Detroit Tigers, Gregory Polanco went 3-4 with a walk. Since, and including that date, Polanco is slashing .287/.356/.465 with 40 doubles, 6 triples, and 13 home runs to go along with a wRC+ (weighted runs created) of 125 and a wOBA (weighted on base average) of .352. Polanco is looking like he is finally reaching that superstar potential that was expected of him.

Gregory Polanco
May 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco (25) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Gregory Polanco has played in 289 career games and is hitting .260/.329/.401 with 62 doubles and 23 home runs. Barry Bonds in his first 289 career games hit .245/.325/.464 with 69 doubles ans 46 home runs. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield hit .267/.331/.422 with 35 doubles and 33 home runs in his first 289 games.

Pittsburgh Pirates left handed starter Jon Niese has pitched 25.2 innings over the course of his last four starts, and in those starts he has produced a 2.45 ERA, 3.53 xFIP (expected fieding independent pitching), thrown 66 percent strikes, and has kept opponents to a slash line of .237/.282/.454, with most of the slugging percentage coming from three home runs allowed at Great American Ball Park.

Jeff Locke has started nine games this season, and the Pirates have gone 3-6 in those starts, a long way off from the 28-23 record the Pirates had in Jeff Locke starts from 2014-2015. This is partly in due to Locke’s 5.08 ERA and 5.26 runs allowed per 9 (includes unearned runs), both the highest they have been since 2012 when he pitched in 34.1 innings. Locke’s average run support has also decreased from 4.85 in 2014 and 4.14 in 2015, to 4.11 this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon struggled early last season, capped of by allowing three earned runs in a blown save against the Chicago Cubs on April 21. Since that outing, Melancon has appeared in 95 games, and has an ERA of 1.77, a 2.70 FIP, a 0.94 WHIP, and 74 strikeouts to 16 walks, a ratio of 4.625.

Francisco Liriano has started nine games this season and has faced mixed results. In his 52.1 innings, he has walked 30 batters, has a WHIP of 1.471, an ERA of 4.30, and an xFIP of 4.20. But in 2014, through the Pirates first 47 games, Liriano started 10 games, pitched in 53.2 innings, walked 24 batters, a WHIP of 1.45, an ERA of 4.86, and a FIP of 4.25. He’s not too far off from that start in 2014, the key differences are the FIP of 4.25 in 2014 and the FIP of 5.17 this season, along with the xFIP of 3.54 in 2014 and the xFIP of 4.20 this season. 

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Gerrit Cole has started nine games this season has posted an ERA of 2.53 with an ERA+ of 154. For his career, Cole has an ERA of 3.01, a WHIP of 1.161, and an ERA+ of 123 in 82 career starts. Pitchers with at least 60 percent of the games started, an ERA of 3.05 or less, a WHIP of 1.165 or less, a K/BB of at least 3.75, and at least 80 games pitched are: Pedro Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Chris Sale, and Gerrit Cole. The baseball-reference search query includes CY Young, however a look at CY Young’s page shows he has 2.30 career K/BB.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are averaging 5.2 runs per game, ranking third in the National League and fourth in baseball. Against left handed pitching the Pirates are 6-2 (0.750 win percentage), last season the club was 20-16 (a 0.556 win percentage). The Pirates runs created/game (runs created per approximately 27 outs) ranks third at 5.9, as they rank second in baseball hitting .286, first in on-base at .361, seventh in slugging at .439, and their wRC+ of 120 ranks second behind only the Boston Red Sox.

Pirates outfielders are slashing .302/.378/.514, ranking first, second, first respectively, with a wOBA of .382 and a wRC+ of 143, ranking second and first respectively. The outfields seven defensive runs saved ranks seventh. Simply, the Pirates are proving they have the best outfield in baseball.

Next: Tonight Is An Important Start For Juan Nicasio

Pirates pitchers lead the league in average (.202), lead in on-base percentage (.235), are second in slugging (.255), first in wOBA (.219), and first in wRC+ (31), and their wRC+ is more than double of the New York Mets wRC+ of 15.

Numbers from the baseball-reference play index and fangraphs