Pittsburgh Pirates: 10 Single Season Stats Worth a Deeper Dive

CHICAGO - 1991: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1991 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - 1991: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1991 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – 1992: Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on from the field during batting practice before a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1992 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – 1992: Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on from the field during batting practice before a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1992 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

198

Weighted runs created plus, or wRC+, is arguably the best way to look at a player’s offensive contributions. It is adjusted for items such as the era a player played in, and the park they played in. Run environments across history have been so different. Obviously the deadball era is much different to the run environment in 2019. Hitting well in a hitter friendly park is much easier than hitting well in a pitcher friendly park, and wRC+ is adjusted for things like this. 100 is always average, and any point above or below it is 1% above/below average.

Barry Bonds is such an outlier in the context of this stat in the era he played in. In 1992, Bonds hit .311/.456/.624 with 34 long balls and a .459 wOBA. Impressively, he walked 20.8% of the time. Bonds was a five tool player. He hit for power, stole 39 bases, had +4 total zone runs above average, and showed off a decent arm, except in the playoffs. Still, overall easily the MVP that season. His fWAR of 9.6 was well ahead of the man in second place, Ryne Sandberg at 7.4.

His 198 wRC+ is insane. That essentially means he was almost 100% better than the league average. It’s the highest single season mark in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Arky Vaughan’s 1935 and Honus Wagner’s 1908 seasons come in second at 194. What’s even more insane is that this isn’t even close to Bonds’ best single season in his career.

From 2001 to 2004, his lowest single season wRC+ was 212, and his highest was 244. Whether you love him or hate him, everyone can admit that watching Bonds play was like watching someone put MLB The Show on rookie difficulty and just going to town on pitchers.

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