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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Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates’ left fielder Brian Giles (R) hits a 2 RBI single off of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo as Dodgers Catcher Chad Kreuter (L) watches during the third inning on 25 April, 2002 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. The Pirates defeated the Dodgers 3-2. AFP Photo/David Maxwell (Photo by David MAXWELL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Left Field: 2002 Brian Giles

I’ve previously brought up just how great this season from Brian Giles was, because it simply is forgotten about and probably the most underrated season on this list.

In 2002, Giles stepped to the plate 644 times, and hit for an outstanding slash of .298/.450/.622. He’s one of four players in Pittsburgh Pirates’ history to post both an on base percentage of at least .450, and have a slugging percentage of at least .600 in a single season.

But what’s more impressive is when you consider how good he was for the era. This is reflected in his league, park, and era adjusted stats. Giles had a 177 OPS+ and 174 wRC+. Flatout, outstanding for the steroid era.

It’s the 11th highest wRC+ mark in Pirate history, regardless of position, and the 6th highest per left fielders. Giles was the second best National League hitter this year, only being surpassed by possibly the best season ever, Barry Bonds with a 244 wRC+, .544 wOBA and 12.7 fWAR.

Giles was also an underrated base runner, stealing 13 bases, and having a +1.3 base running runs above average. He wasn’t all that great of a fielder with -14 total zone runs, but his offense was fantastic. The only person who was better than him in the NL was a guy who was about 140% better than the league average.

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