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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SAN FRANCISCO – SEPTEMBER 7: Nate McLouth of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats during the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California on September 7, 2008. The Giants defeated the Pirates 11-6. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO – SEPTEMBER 7: Nate McLouth of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats during the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California on September 7, 2008. The Giants defeated the Pirates 11-6. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Center Field – 2008 Nate McLouth

Nate McLouth’s 2008 season isn’t the only productive season in his career, but it’s far and away the best. He never came close to his 2008 peak, at least with the bat. The glove was a different story. However, McLouth had one All-Star season before falling off.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, McLouth batted .276/.356/.497 with 26 home runs. He was one of the most powerful center fielders in 2008, trailing just Carlos Beltran, Grady Sizemore, and Josh Hamilton in total home runs. His slugging percentage, which fell just three points shy of .500, was also the fifth-best in the league. All told, he had a .364 wOBA and 121 wRC+. Despite winning the Gold Glove this year, he was actually one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game. He had -23 defensive runs saved and a -12 UZR/150. Only Brad Hawpe had a lower DRS total.

Before 2008, McLouth was a .249/.322/.429 batter with a .328 wOBA, and 95 wRC+ and after 2008, he hit .237/.328/.397 with a .314 wOBA, and 93 wRC+. He essentially reverted back to his pre-2008 self after his All-Star season. McLouth would never reach the 120 wRC+ plateaux in his career after 2008 and would only have one 3+ fWAR season, that coming in the following year in 2009.

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