As we continue to break down each of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ position from 2017 here at Rum Bunter next up is second base.
For much of the 2017 season second base was a position of strength for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team’s starting second baseman – Josh Harrison – had the second best season of his career in 2017. However, he missed the final month of the season due to a hand injury.
In 128 games last season Harrison owned a career-high 5.2 percent walk rate, and his .339 on-base percentage, .140 ISO, and .432 slugging percentage were all the second-highest of his career. Harrison hit a new career-best 16 home runs, to go with a .332 wOBA, 104 wRC+, and a 2.6 fWAR.
The 2.6 fWAR Josh Harrison had in 2017 was fourth among National League second basemen. If not for the hand injury that cost him September, Harrison’s fWAR would have been even higher. As a result of his strong 2017 season, Josh Harrison was named a National League All-Star for the second time in his career.
During the 2017 season, Josh Harrison also continued to be one of the best defensive second basemen in the league. His +6 defensive runs saved was the second highest among National League second basemen, while his .981 fielding percentage was eighth best.
Outside of Josh Harrison, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw five other players play second base in 2017. These five players were Adam Frazier, Chris Bostick, Max Moroff, Philip Gosselin, and Sean Rodriguez. None of these players were as successful offensively as Harrison were in 2017.
Defensively, the results were all over the board. Moroff was a great defensive second baseman posting a +4 DRS and a 1.000 fielding percentage. Frazier (0 DRS, .951 fielding percentage) and Rodriguez (+1 DRS, .946 fielding percentage) both had their struggles defensively at the position. Gosselin sucks at everything. Meanwhile, Bostick only had 26 innings at second base in 2017.
Josh Harrison has evolved into one of the best all-around second basemen in the National League. As a result, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in good hands at second base. However, behind Harrison, things are bleak. This makes Harrison’s health vital in 2018.
If Josh Harrison is healthy in 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be one of the best teams in the National League in terms of play and production from the second base position.