Top 5 Pittsburgh Pirates of the 2016 Season

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Sep 13, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (L) argues a call with first base umpire Alan Porter (64) after being ejected during the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 season did not go according to plan for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, there were still some bright spots.

The Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 season had many ups and downs.  But a couple of the ”downs” were the main reasons they failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Andrew McCutchen had the worst year of his career posting career lows in on-base percentage (.336), slugging percentage (.430), wOBA (.329), wRC+ (106), and WAR (0.7).  He also continued to regress defensively and a move to right field looks likely next season.  Although he never admitted it, part of his down season could have been because of a thumb issue he suffered earlier in the season that lingered for several months.   But McCutchen finally starting hitting the final two months of the season posting a .282/.383/.854 line so hopefully he is fully healthy now and that carries over to the 2017 season now that it looks like he will be staying in Pittsburgh.

Gerritt Cole’s down year was highlighted by 2 trips to the DL from elbow problems.  Statistically, Cole had a solid season with a 3.33 FIP and 2.5 WAR in only 116 innings pitched, but he just didn’t look like the same pitcher he did in 2015.  He struggled to put hitters away, causing his pitch counts to go up, and he failed to go deep into games, pitching 7 innings or more only three times. He posted career lows and highs in K/9 (7.6), and BB/9 (2.8).  A positive sign was his fastball velocity still averaged over 95 MPH after he returned from the first injury so hopefully the second DL stint was just precautionary since it was so late in the season.  GM Neal Huntington has said Cole is having a normal off season this winter and I expect we will be seeing him pitch like an ace once again.

Despite McCutchen and Cole’s down years, the Pirates still had encouraging seasons from players that are under contract for the next several years and here are the top 5 players from the 2016 season.