FanPost

20 years of WAR

Some nuggets to ponder before the Bucs take over the world via the Worldwide Leader this evening.

1. Russell Martin owns a 3.6 WAR so far this season. Since the The Streak began only Jason Kendall has posted a higher WAR for the Bucs at catcher. Indeed, only he and Ryan Doumit have broken the 2+ (starter) barrier since 1993 at that position.

2. While Gaby Sanchez is at a WAR of 0.7, there have only been 5 seasons since 1993 that a Pirate 1b has been more productive, those being 2009 with Garrett Jones, the brief awesomeness of Derek Lee in 2011 and 1997-99 with Kevin Young. Pirate first basemen have put up over a 2.0 WAR only 4 times in the last 20 years. During the same period, look at our competition: St. Louis: 13 2+ seasons (8 by Pujols) Chicago: 16 2+ seasons (D Lee and Mark Grace) Reds: 11 2+ seasons (6 by Votto) Brewers: 13 2+ seasons (mostly Fielder and Richie Sexson) Houston: 17 2+ seasons (12 by Bagwell)

Throughout team history, first base has been a troubled position. Good God, the leader for the Pirates in games played at first is Gus Suhr, and he retired 19 months before Pearl Harbor. The record of HR by a first baseman is 35, by Dick Stuart (Dr. Strangeglove) in 1961. The last Pirate 1B to hit 30 HR in a season was Jason Thompson in 1982.

3. Right field has been nearly as bad. Only 4 Pirate right fielders have posted a 2+ WAR since 1993: Orlando Merced (1993, 95-96), John VanderWal (2000), Reggie Sanders (2003) and Xavier Nady (2008). As things currently stand, Travis Snider is looking to be the 4th Pirate right fielder since 1993 to post a negative WAR rating (2009 Brandon Moss, 1999 Adrian Brown, 1998 Jose Guillen)

4. However, we are trending up. Neil Walker has posted 2+ rating every year since 2011 while only one Pirate second baseman did it between 1993 and 2007 (Freddy Sanchez) Cutch has been at All Star caliber (5+) for three years running and at 2+ since his debut in 2009. Only Brian Giles two seasons in center and Nate McLouth's 2008 campaign come close. There have been 8 seasons out of the last 20 where a Pirate third baseman has posted a WAR of over 2. El Toro has two of those seasons including 2013. Pedro is also on the cusp of becoming the second Pirate third baseman to post two seasons of 30 or more HR (the other was Frank Thomas back in the 1950s).

5. The 2013 Pirates are running out 6 players or combinations with a WAR of 2+ (Cutch, El Toro, Walker, Martin, Marte and the combo of Barmes and Mercer). The team hasn't done that since 1993, and two of those players were over 34 (Don Slaught and Lonnie Smith). Only Barmes is 34 or over out of this year's group.

6. Last but not least, after getting gently abused by puffed up SF Giants fans over the last few years (Root for a winner/Who is Pedro Alvarez/When will you trade McCutchen etc.) when I step out to my favorite watering hole in my Alvarez or Tekulve jerseys, I am happy to say that everyone of my friends out in the Bay Area are pulling for this team. Regardless of where the Bucs wind up this year, I would like to thank them for the ride so far and the times to come. Let's Go Bucs!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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