Pittsburgh Pirates: Building a Team of One-Season Wonders

Catcher Ronny Paulino of the Pirates waits in the dugout prior to action between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on June 20, 2006. The Royals won 10-6. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)
Catcher Ronny Paulino of the Pirates waits in the dugout prior to action between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on June 20, 2006. The Royals won 10-6. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images) /
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Sep 2, 2006; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher (26) Ronny Paulino hits a sacrifice fly against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Pirates defeated the Cardinals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports (©) Copyright 2006 by Scott Rovak
Sep 2, 2006; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher (26) Ronny Paulino hits a sacrifice fly against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Pirates defeated the Cardinals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports (©) Copyright 2006 by Scott Rovak /

There are many MLB players who have one good year in their career, so what would a team of one-year-wonder Pittsburgh Pirates look like?

Not every MLB player can have a long career with a ton of accolades and highly productive seasons. Some appear for a few years and are never seen again, and others might last a while but might only have one or two productive seasons to their credit. These are one-year wonders, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have had plenty of these throughout their history.

Today, I want to take a look at one-year wonders and make a team consisting of these players. These players date back to integration, so you won’t be seeing any players from like Honus Wagner’s days with the Pirates.

(Note that all these players are retired, so for example while it’s not likely Adam Frazier might not reach his 2021 peak or Kevin Newman will ever bat as he did in 2019, I want to only focus on players who already had their careers)

Catcher – 2006 Ronny Paulino

Ronny Paulino is arguably the most obscure player to ever have a .300 batting average season. Since 1960, there have only been 117 instances of a catcher recording a batting average of at least .300 in 400 or more plate appearances. You’ll see a ton of really good catchers on that list, like Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez, but Paulino is also among them.

In 2006, Paulino batted .310/.360/.394, which, even though this was still below league-average production, clocking in with a 97 wRC+ was still very good for a catcher. The league average backstop in 2006 hit just .268/.328/.413 in comparison. Paulino might not have hit for much power, but he had the fifth-highest batting average and 7th highest OBP. He was even a great defender, racking up +10 defensive runs saved.

But after 2006, Paulino fell off hard. He batted for an impoverished .260/.312/.370 with a .301 wOBA and 80 wRC+. He also had a hard fall off defensively with -7 defensive runs saved after ’06. Ronny Paulino had one of the strangest seasons in 2006 and then never was able to come close to duplicating that campaign.

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