I know some of you are going to hate me, and I’m prepared for it, but there is no denying how good Jason Kendall was for the Pirates. This included his rookie season, when no one can deny how good he was for the Pirates.
Kendall entered into the Majors with the Pirates in 1996, when he played in 130 games. In those 130 games, Kendall managed to hit for a .300/.372/.401 slash line. His advanced stats were impressive as well, with a wOBA of .339, wRC+ of 102 and just a 14.3% soft contact percentage.
That year he finished 3rd in the National League Rookie of the Year voting falling short to Edgar Renteria and Todd Hollandsworth. Honestly, I think Rentaria deserved the award, but hey, I don’t have a vote but come on, 3rd place?! Kendall deserved at least 2nd that year. Anyways he was extremely impressive that year, so impressive that he earned the honor to go to the All-Star Game.
This was the first of three NL All-Star selections for Kendall with the Pirates. Kendall spent nine seasons with the Pirates and signed what was at the time the largest contract the team had ever handed out. His tenure with the Pirates ended when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics following the 2004 season.