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On Depth

In a comment (which I think I may have accidentally just deleted; sorry) a few threads below, Bolton writes:

I hope the Pirates don't trade [Craig] Wilson. I don't think they can get fair value and he'd be an excellent guy to bring off the bench and play against lefties. I think fans often overlook the importance of depth, and while I didn't care for the Randa and Burnitz signings, the silver lining is a pretty sweet bench.

This is a very good point. Depth is very important, and Wilson can still help the team a lot by getting 400 or so plate appearances off the bench and hitting well.

Flash back to 2003, though, when the Pirates had an excellent bench that included the following players:

Matt Stairs, 305 AB, 950 OPS
Craig Wilson, 309 AB, 872 OPS
Rob Mackowiak, 174 AB, 784 OPS
Abe Nunez, 311 AB, 667 OPS

Nunez was decent, Mackowiak was good and Stairs and Wilson were downright great. However, the following players were starters for most or all the time they spent healthy and with the Pirates in 2003:

Randall Simon, 307 AB, 722 OPS
Jose Hernandez, 193 AB, 608 OPS
Jack Wilson, 558 AB, 656 OPS
Pokey Reese, 107 AB, 533 OPS

As Baseball Prospectus once pointed out in one of their annuals, the 2003 Pirates had a really good bench. It was some of their starters who were bad. As a result, they finished only 16th in the majors in runs scored despite terrific performances from Stairs, Craig Wilson, Brian Giles, Reggie Sanders, Jason Kendall, and Tike Redman and good ones by Kenny Lofton and Mackowiak. Having a good bench is helpful, yes. But not recognizing who your best players are can be a big problem.