Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining his Strong September Thus Far

Is Miguel Andujar's recent hot streak too good to be true?
Oct 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Miguel Andujar (26)
Oct 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Miguel Andujar (26) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Why It Might Be Too Good To Be True

Andujar has done great, but we’re talking about less than 50 plate appearances. Does this stretch invalidate his first 33 plate appearances of the season in late April through mid-May, where he hit just .161/.212/.387 with a 54 wRC+? Or what about the 442 plate appearances where he had just a 67 wRC+ from 2019 through 2022?

Sure, the sample size during his first promotion at the start of the year is also very small. But it’s nearly the same amount of plate appearances. Anyone can look good or bad in less than a 50-plate appearance sample. Plus, it’s not the first time in baseball history, or even the Pirates’ recent history, that they had a guy go nuts in September, then falter the next season.

Do you remember Anthony Alford? Alford was an outfielder who did well after struggling in the first month of 2021 before returning down the stretch and posting great numbers in September. Through the last month and 85 plate appearances of the season, Alford batted .276/.353/.500 with a 126 wRC+.

Sure, one could argue that since Alford was let go in early May after missing most of the season up to that point, he never got a chance to prove whether this was the real deal or a fluke, but Alford has mostly played in Korea the last two seasons. His hot end to 2021 wasn’t enough for any other team to give him another shot.

Andujar barely walks, too. The rate of batters who are good hitters with a walk rate of around 5% are few and far between. Yes, there are some, but most are below average. Having a hitter in the line-up who avoids walks like the plague is a real concern.