Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Team’s Eight MVP Seasons

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31: Former Pirate MVPs Dick Groat and Barry Bonds stand with 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at PNC Park on March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO – 1990: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1990 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO – 1990: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1990 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

1990 National League MVP – Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds had some unbelievable seasons in his career, and that all started with his outstanding 1990 breakout campaign. His 1990 season was unbelievable. In 621 plate appearances, Bonds hit .301/.406/.565 with 33 home runs and 52 stolen bases. This is one of two seasons in MLB history where a player had at least 50 stolen bases and 30 home runs. Eric Davis’ 1987 season is the only other season like this in history.

Not only was he an immense threat offensively, but he was outstanding defensively with +28 total zone runs above average, the highest mark in baseball that season. He also threw out 14 runners showing he had an above average arm.

Bonds’ had a 170 OPS+ and 165 wRC+. He also had a .420 wOBA. Bonds already didn’t strikeout much. He had a 13.4% strikeout rate. But pair that with a 15% walk rate and you have a very dangerous batter who can swipe whatever bag he wanted.

Bonds’ wRC+, OPS+ and wOBA all led the league, and MLB in general. Bonds fell just a tenth of a point shy of getting to 10 fWAR. Still, it’s the 3rd highest in Pittsburgh Pirates history, only passed by Honus Wagner in 1905 and 1908.

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