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Not This Bad

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It might've been nicer of me to mention this when the Bucs were losing every game, but I'd still like to point out that this Bucs team is not nearly as bad as its record.

Take a look at Baseball Prospectus' adjusted standings. The Pirates are 19-34, worst in the NL Central. That much you know. But, strangely (and thanks in part to a couple of recent blowouts), they've scored nearly as many runs (251) as they've allowed (264). Adjust those numbers for their actual production (total bases, walks, and so on), park factors, and strength of schedule, and the Pirates aren't quite the near-.500 team their runs scored and allowed figures would suggest. But they're still about five wins better than their record, which is significant.

251 runs scored indicates that the Bucs are nearly an average offensive team. If, at the beginning of the season, you told me the Pirates would be anywhere near an average offensive team, I'd have been shocked. And even now I'm a little surprised, since there have been stretches this year when it didn't look like the Bucs could hit anything. But they've been respectable on offense so far, and two big reasons why are Craig Wilson and Freddy Sanchez. Subtract those two players from the lineup, as the Bucs seem to want to do, and the Bucs' impersonation of a decent offense will probably stop. And if that happens, the Pirates will probably play a lot more like a 19-34 team than a 24-29 team.