Like I said earlier, defensive runs saved, or DRS is one of the many ways we identify who’s a good fielder and who isn’t a good fielder in today’s game. One of the worst defensive seasons by a Pirate was oddly enough one of the year’s they won a Gold Glove.
In 2008, Nate McLouth was the lone all-star for the Pittsburgh Pirates after batting .276/.356/.497 with 26 long balls and 23 stolen bases. All told, he had a 121 wRC+ and .364 wOBA in 685 plate appearances. With numbers like this, McLouth was one of the top offensive center fielders in the National League ranking second in wRC+, wOBA, OPS and home runs. Only Mets’ slugger Carlos Beltran outpaced McLouth in those four catergories.
But defensively, McLouth was awful. He had -23 defensive runs saved, -13.4 total zone runs above average, and -15.1 range runs above average. McLouth’s DRS total is the second lowest in Pirate history, only being outdone by Andrew McCutchen in 2016 at -26. Since the stat’s introduction to baseball in 2003, McLouth’s -23 DRS is the 6th lowest mark by any centerfielder. But somehow, McLouth took home the Gold Glove Award despite the fact Beltran reached double digits in DRS, UZR and range runs, and Shane Victrino reached double digits in DRS as well.