Pittsburgh Pirates: Most Underrated Season at Each Position in Franchise History

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 31: Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run home run in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on July 31, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 31: Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run home run in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on July 31, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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15 Apr 1993: JAY BELL, SHORTSTOP FOR THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES, BREAKS FOR A GROUND BALL DURING THEIR GAME AGAINST THE SAN DIEGO PADRES AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
15 Apr 1993: JAY BELL, SHORTSTOP FOR THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES, BREAKS FOR A GROUND BALL DURING THEIR GAME AGAINST THE SAN DIEGO PADRES AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. /

Shortstop: 1993 Jay Bell

Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan own 21 of the 22 best offensive seasons in Pirate history at the shortstop positiob. That’s no big surprise. But who owns the one season in there as one of the best 25 offensive seasons of any Pirate shortstop? It’s Jay Bell’s 1993 season.

We ranked Bell  as the Pirates’ third best shortstop in their franchise history. His 1993 season was his best that many may not remember. Through 701 plate appearances in 1993, Bell hit for a solid .310/.392/.437 slash line. Though he only hit nine home runs, Bell stole 16 bases, walked at an 11% rate, and legged out 32 doubles.

Bell’s 125 wRC+ was third among all shortstops during the season, but was probably the best overall shortstop that year. His 6.6 fWAR was well ahead of the second place finisher Jeff Blauser (5.4). Bell could hit, get on base, run, and field with +11 total zone runs above average at short.

Bell’s single season wRC+ is 20th of any mark made by a Pirates’ shortstop through at least 500 plate appearances. But his 6.6 fWAR fits right in with some of Wagner’s and Vaughan’s seasons.

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