Pittsburgh Pirates Among the League Leaders in One Offensive Stat

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 04: Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at bat during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PETCO Park on May 04, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 04: Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at bat during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PETCO Park on May 04, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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While, overall, the offense has struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, there is one stat where they are among the National League leaders

Offense has been far from a strength for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. Entering play on Thursday the team ranked 13th in the National League in on-base percentage (.300), 14th in runs scored (158) and wRC+ (80), and 15th in home runs (30).

Their offensive woes should come as much of a surprise. While entering the season the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared to have a strong top four in the lineup with Adam Frazier, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Colin Moran, it is a lineup that lacks length. While catcher Jacob Stallings has continued his offensive breakout from 2020 this season adding to the lineup’s length, the lineup has also been hit hard by injury.

Hayes went on the injured list following the second game of the season and has yet to return. Colin Moran has been on the IL for nearly a month, and utility man Phillip Evans who was off to a hot start at the plate this season went on the IL shortly after Moran. Factor in the Pittsburgh Pirates getting nearly zero offensive output from the shortstop position, the bench and the two outfield spots that are not being manned by Reynolds, and you have a recipe for disaster offensively.

There is one offensive stat, however, where the Pirates rank among the league leaders. While it may come as a surprise to many the Pirates are among the National League leaders in doubles. Unfortunately, this has not led to the offensive success one may expect.

So far this season the Pittsburgh Pirates have collected 77 doubles as a team. This puts the team 4th in the National League in doubles, sitting behind just the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves. It is also good for the 10th most doubles in all of MLB.

The Pirates also have two of the league leaders in doubles. Reynolds has hit 16 doubles thus far, which is tied with Cardinal third baseman Nolan Arenado for the most not just in the NL but in all of baseball. Frazier ranks 6th in the NL, and 10th in MLB, with 14 doubles. Stallings also has double digit doubles so far this season with 10.

Despite all of the doubles, the Pirates offense has struggled to score runs this season. A big reason for this is their team batting average of .227 which ranks 13th out of the 15 NL teams. Another factor has been Pirate hitters putting the ball on the ground too often. Their team ground ball rate of 44.8% is the 6th highest in the league, while their 32.3% fly ball rate is the 3rd lowest in the NL. The Pirates have also failed to routinely hit the ball hard as their 26.7% hard-hit rate ranks dead last in the NL.

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While the Pittsburgh Pirates have been among the league leaders in doubles all season long they have struggled to score runs. If the Pirates can begin to hit the ball with authority more often, while also putting the ball in the air more and on the ground less this could help fix their issue. Getting Hayes, Moran and Evans back from the IL should help the lineup as well.

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