Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Right Fielders in Franchise History
By Noah Wright
Number Five – Orlando Merced
Now, yes, Orlando Merced played a good amount of games at first base during his Pittsburgh Pirates career. Despite this, he still had more plate appearances with the Pirates than a few I considered putting on the list. Also, he spent more time in right field than those players as well.
Merced was an excellent batter with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was one of the more underrated bats the Pirates had in the early-to-mid 90’s.
From 1990, his debut season, to 1996, Merced put up a solid line of .283/.364/.428 line, and a 114 wRC+ in 2980 plate appearances. Although he wasn’t a big power hitter, indicated by his sub-.450 slugging percentage and .145 isolated slugging, Merced was an on base machine. Out of all right fielders in Pirate history with at least 2000 plate appearances, Merced has the 4th highest OBP. He also has a strong 11.4% walk rate to combat a just as good 14.3% strikeout rate.
But he wasn’t just a bat only right fielder. The Pirates must have recognized the defensive potential Merced had at first base, as the move to right field really paid dividends. Merced had +26 total zone runs in right for the Pirates. He also had a great arm. Just by going off the 5.6 arm runs above average he had in the final two years of his career, just imagine what that number would have been if the stat was created in the early 90s?