Pittsburgh Pirates: Team Stat Rankings Update 1

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are off to one of their best starts in the history of the franchise.  How do they rank in some of the popular statistical categories so far?

When looking at the NL Central standings in the early going, one can see the Pittsburgh Pirates sitting at the top of the list.  Back at the beginning of Spring Training, many fans and Pittsburgh media members were ready to write them off from the get go.  Now, it is still early, but this team is showing a lot of promise, a deepened lineup, and a starting rotation that has a lot of upside.  The Bucs are 7-2 and just came off winning three out of four against the Cincinnati Reds.  Where do they rank in the popular statistics compared to other teams?

Pittsburgh Pirates Offense

Batting Average:  Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates had one of the worst offenses in baseball.  By the end of the season, they ranked 27th overall in terms of batting average, with a team average of .244.  They have flipped the script so far this season, ranking second with a team average of .283.  The only team that is in front of them is the Atlanta Braves. The Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets round out the top five.

Runs Per Game:  While the Bucs ranked number 27 in batting average, they ranked even worse in runs per game last season at number 28.  Last year, the Bucs produced 4.12 runs per game, beating out the Giants and Padres.  Once again, this season the Pittsburgh Pirates look like they have made significant improvements.  So far this season they are averaging 6.44 runs per game, which is once again good for second to the Braves.

Hits Per Game: The trend continues of the Pittsburgh Pirates ranking second in the offensive categories.  This year they are averaging 9.89 hits per game, which is right behind the Braves once more.  Last year, the Bucs were 26th in hits per game.

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching

Earn Run Average: While the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked in the bottom of the league in most hitting categories last year, the team was middle of the road in pitching.  At the end of last season they ranked 13th in ERA.  So far, the pitching stats have been about the same, ranking 17th in ERA. This year their ERA is 4.13, and last year their number was actually worse at 4.22.

Next: Should the Bucs have a 5 Man Bench?

Strikeouts Per Walk:  This is the one category that the Pittsburgh Pirates have not done well so far this year.  They have a strikeout per walk ratio of 1.82, meaning they strike out 1.82 batters for every one walk.  This average gives the Bucs a rank of 26th.  Meanwhile, the Houston Astros rank at the top of the league at 3.93.  Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates posted a ratio of 2.47 which ranked 16th. Two starters have really effected this number. Steven Brault has walked five batters while only striking out seven. Meanwhile, Trevor Williams has actually walked six while only striking out five.  Both pitchers are more of the pitch to contact types rather than producing swings and misses.  In the early going this number will likely be inflated, but once Brault and Williams get in midseason form, the walks should be cut back.

*All Stats are Courtesy of Teamrankings.com