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, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after being hit by a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning of their game on September 20, 2014 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Brewers defeated the Pirates 1-0. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after being hit by a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning of their game on September 20, 2014 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Brewers defeated the Pirates 1-0. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) /

Center Field: 2014 Andrew McCutchen

Now why this season? Well when you think of Andrew McCutchen’s best season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, you probably think of his 2013 MVP campaign first, and then possibly his 2012 season. But out of every season McCutchen has played in the Majors, this has so far been his best hitting wise. In fact, it was arguably the best offensive season in Pirate history. However, it doesn’t get nearly as much attention compared to his MVP campaign.

Through 648 plate appearances, Cutch was absolutely demolishing the baseball. In his third straight MVP-caliber season, the centerbfielder hit .314/.410/.542 with 25 long balls, 18 stolen bases, and 168 wRC+. That wRC+ is by far the highest mark in Pirates’ history in center field. Only McCutchen’s 2012 season comes close, but at 10% lower at 158.

Now granted, McCutchen wasn’t nearly as good of a fielder this year compared to years prior. He was a well below average defensive center field with -11 DRS, -5.6 UZR, and 1.6 range runs above average. However, that didn’t stop him from having an outstanding fWAR of 7.4. It’s the second highest single season mark by a Bucco center fielder aside from his MVP campaign.

He also did all of thise while missing over two weeks in August due to a rib injury. Imagine what his numbers would have been like had he not missed those games.

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