Pittsburgh Pirates: Clutchest Seasons in Franchise History

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 08: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a fielder’s choice in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park on September 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Without clutch hits, the Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn’t have some of the most memorable moments in their franchise’s history. But what are the clutchest seasons we’ve seen so far?

Clutch hitting is what drives in runs. Without it, teams wouldn’t be able to win games, and make the postseason. Throughout the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates you can probably think of some really clutch batters.

The Pirates have had many clutch hitting moments throughout their history, ones that have combinated for the best seasons ever. So let’s go through the Pirates’ history, and see what are the most clutch seasons ever.

For this, we will be using FanGraphs’ clutch index. This gives each play a score, usually between -2 and +2, in how they performed in high leverage situations compared to how they perform in neutral settings. +2 is elite, 0 is average, and -2 is very bad.

It also compares a player to themself to how they perform in other situations. For example, if you always are hitting .300 regardless of the situation, you won’t be given as high of a score if you hit .275 regularly, but .320 in high leverage situations. While that will put significant weight on these rankings, we will obviously be looking at other such numbers like how they performed with runners in scoring position, and the league and era adjusted stat wRC+. This will also be players who stepped to the play at least 600 times during the regular season to limit any small sample sizes.

So with all of that out of the way, let’s get into our number five spot.