Pittsburgh Pirates: Building a Team of One-Season Wonders
By Noah Wright
Third Base – 1997 Joe Randa
Joe Randa had two stints in black and gold. The first was in 1997, which we will focus on here, and the second was in 2006. Randa was fairly new to Major League Baseball when he first appeared with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997. He spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, where he was a solid batter, but was traded to the Pirates in the 1996-1997 off-season. He, along with three guys named Jeff (Martin, Granger, and Wallace), was sent to the Bucs for Jay Bell and Jeff King.
In 1997, Randa would piece together his best year with the stick. In 499 plate appearances, Randa slashed .302/.366/.451 with a .359 wOBA and 113 wRC+. But Randa brought a lot of value with the glove, racking up +11 total zone runs. In total, he had a +3.7 fWAR.
But the Arizona Diamondbacks then selected Randa in the expansion draft and traded him to the Detroit Tigers. He’d spend one year in Detroit before heading back to KC. From 1998 through 2006, Randa batted for a below-average .283/.337/.426 line, leading to a wRC+ of just 94.
Although Randa had some solid seasons, he never got within 5% of his 1997 campaign in terms of wRC+. While Paulino might be one of the most obscure .300 batters, Randa might be one of the most obscure batters to have multiple .300 seasons. He reached the .300 plateau in 1999 and 2000.