The Pittsburgh Pirates’ No All-Star Game All-Star Team

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Relief Pitcher

Ramon Hernandez

I consider Ramon Hernandez the most underrated reliever in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Like many set-up men, he didn’t get nearly as much attention as he deserved throughout his time in the major leagues, especially with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hernandez pitched 347.2 innings across 6 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1971 through 1976. The lefty put up a 2.51 ERA, 2.90 FIP, and 1.176 WHIP. Hernandez was usually above average in terms of strikeout rate, ending his tenure with the Pirates 14.6% mark. He only walked 7.6% of all the batters he faced but excelled at limiting home runs. He allowed just 14 long balls for a .36 HR/9 rate, which is the 4th best in Pirates history among qualified relievers.

Hernandez had a strong 139 ERA+, 71 ERA-, and 83 FIP-. That all puts him between 20%-40% better than the league average pitcher. Among Pirates relievers with at least 200 innings pitched, he’s one of three RP’s with both an ERA and FIP under 3.

Hernandez’s best seasons came in his first full major league campaign, that being in 1972. The southpaw tossed 70 innings out of the bullpen, putting up an outstanding 1.67 ERA, 2.68 FIP, and 1.029 WHIP. Hernandez had a 16.5% strikeout rate, which was well above the average that year of just 15%. Hernandez walked 7.7% of all the batters he faced, which was above the average, but his HR/9 of .39 was another very good mark.

Hernandez had an impressive 202 ERA+, making him 102% better than the league average pitcher that year at preventing runs from scoring. He also had a strong 50 ERA- and 84 FIP-. Among qualified relievers that year, he was 4th in ERA, 13th in FIP, and 16th in fWAR with a .6 mark. However, he pitched much fewer innings than many of the leaders that year.

Hernandez pitched 80.8% of his career innings in Pittsburgh, but he wasn’t nearly as successful with other teams. The Pirates are the only team he ever pitched for and had a sub-4 ERA with.

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