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Observations on the Pirates' Recent Play

Some notes regarding recent performances by some of the Pirates:

-P- Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz have been doing pretty much what the fans and the spreadsheet crowd expected of them this season:

PLAYER ACTUAL BD COMMUNITY ZiPS
Jeromy Burnitz .229/.289/.435 .246/.317/.439 .240/.311/.412
Joe Randa .274/.324/.399 .275/.325/.399 .277/.332/.440

The Bucs Dugout community has just nailed that Randa projection so far. Good work. That's pretty amazing, actually.

Anyway, neither Randa nor Burnitz has a starting job right now despite doing pretty much exactly what everyone predicted, which begs the question of what, exactly, the Pirates were expecting when they signed these guys.

-P- Chris Duffy has pretty much undone all the good work he did in 2005 - his career OPS is now just .652. His current OPS in 167 at bats is .530. The Pirates actually haven't had a player get 167 at bats in a season with an OPS that low since Keith Osik did it in exactly that many at bats in 1999. Randall Simon and Chris Stynes in 2004, Jack Wilson, Pat Meares and Derek Bell in 2001, Mike Benjamin in 1999 - all those guys had better offensive seasons than the one Duffy's having right now. That's amazing.

-P- Jose Bautista has all but disappeared recently, posting a .500 OPS in his 45 August at bats.

-P- The Pirates' good-looking ERAs recently haven't been an accident - they're just pitching better, posting a 2:1 K:BB ratio as a team in August, compared to, say, about 1.5:1 in April and 1.7:1 in July. Whether or not this means the Bucs are going to continue to pitch well is open to question - in May, the team had a 2:1 K:BB ratio and an even lower ERA than they had in August, but they whizzed back to earth with a horrible June. Anyway, Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny have been leading the way in August - let's hope Gorzelanny quickly gets over his elbow troubles.