Pittsburgh Pirates: Constructing the Franchise’s All-Offense Line Up

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Pirate Jason Kendall at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania July 3, 2004 (Photo by Sean Brady/Getty Images)
Pirate Jason Kendall at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania July 3, 2004 (Photo by Sean Brady/Getty Images) /

Catcher Jason Kendall

Jason Kendall’s batting profile is one you no longer see that often. Kendall wasn’t a big power hitter with a career .418 slugging percentage, and .112 isolated slugging percentage, but he was a fantastic contact/get on base hitter throughout his career.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kendall had a .306/.387/.418 line. He leads all Pirates’ catchers in OPS, and is second to Fred Caroll in wRC+, 113 to 130. However, Caroll had just 2518 plate appearances with the Pirates while Kendall had 5283.

Kendall walked at a solid 8.6% rate, but struck out just 7.6% of the time. Among Pirates’ players since 1950 with at least 2500 plate appearances, Kendall has the 7th lowest strikeout rate.

Kendall also had a skill set not many catchers have in general. He was a really solid base runner. With the Pirates, he stole 140 bases in 205 attempts. From 1997 to 2002, his lowest stolen base total was 13, and swiped at least 20 bags in three straight years from 1998-2000. All told, he had a +1.2 base running runs above average. Kendall is also second among Pirate catcher wOBA (.358), and first in fWAR at 31.2. An argument can be made that Kendall is the best all-around catcher in Pirate history.

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