With the results in the first two series of the year being less than stellar, I wanted to do a few calculations to determine just how bad the Pirates have been offensively and to see if bad luck has contributed to their start. With so few plate appearances per player, I decided to stick with team totals excluding pitchers to get a better idea of how the batters have done as a whole. Even by combining team totals, the small sample size warning still exists for all stats, whether they predict an optimistic or pessimistic future.
Plate Appearances: 180
Non-Intentional Walks: 13
Intentional Walks: 1
Sacrifice Bunts: 1
Hit Batsmen: 1
Combined Batters' Slash Line: .128/.196/.171
K/BB Ratio: 3.29:1
A few observations.
1)The K% last year for the team including pitchers was around 22-23%. Based off the offensive performance so far this year, I was surprised to see the K% this year only a couple percentage points more. Granted, the inclusion of pitchers for last year’s calculation skews that number up more, but I still expected a bigger gap and a larger percentage this year than what I calculated.
2)Another stat that jumps out to me, and I’m sure many of you, is the low BABIP. The pessimist in me wants to think the Pirates just haven’t been hitting the ball hard, hitting pop-ups, etc. The optimist in me wants to think the Pirates have been getting some bad luck on ground-balls and line drives hit in the wrong places. Ultimately I think the answer is a good bit of bad luck sprinkled with some awfully weak hits. I lean towards that argument for the simple reason that I have seen more line drives by the Pirates get caught than ground-balls have found holes. I could be wrong, but that is my observation so far this year.
3)Russell Martin has one strikeout this year, but no hits in 14 at-bats. I have seen him hit a lot of ground-balls, but some of those hits have to find a hole eventually right?
4)The lack of extra base hits bothers me and likely leads to the idea the Pirates haven’t hit the ball hard even when they have hit the ball.
Like I said up top, the sample size is still too small to make many concrete conclusions. I do not think the offense will be this bad all year simply because of regression and the improbability of it all. Also, I believe the offensive ineptitude of the team has been overblown simply because it is the beginning of the season. In my opinion, if the hitters that are currently slumping (namely everyone but Cutch and Marte) had gone six games hitting like they are now in the middle of the season, it would be a lot less noticeable. But, because there are no other games to compare to this season and the fact that multiple hitters are struggling at once, the offensive struggles of certain players stand out more than they would normally.
With all that being said, what are your thoughts on these stats? Do they change your outlook on the future hitting fortunes of the team? Or have you seen something else that leads you to be more optimistic or pessimistic? Or is it still too early to draw any conclusion at all, and we should just be more patient?