Yesterday, Jordy Mercer agreed to a deal with the Detroit Tigers, ending his professional relationship with the only franchise he has ever known.
Mercer may not have been one of the best players over the last five or six seasons, but he still played a role in snapping the losing season streak. He’s a good guy with a young family, so good for him for getting paid.
So to honor his 6.095 service years in a Pirates uniform, these are the games where his bat helped the team the most, based on Win Probability Added (WPA).
5. Apr. 27, 2016: +0.361 WPA
Sometimes it takes just one hit to be the hero. Mercer was sitting on an 0-4 night when he came up in the top of the 12th with Gregory Polanco on first base and two outs. He made his one hit on the night count, ripping a go-ahead double to center to give the Bucs a 9-8 win in Colorado.
That hit was the largest WPA swing of the game, increasing the Pirates’ chances of winning by 39 points (42% to 81%).
4. Apr. 27, 2018: +0.366 WPA
Mercer must get a good night sleep every Apr. 26 because he sure produces on Apr. 27.
Once again, Mercer only had one hit on the night, but he made it count. Down two runs against the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth, Mercer ripped a two run double off of Greg Holland to tie the game at five. While he would be stranded at third to end the inning, the Pirates completed the comeback in the 11th on a walk-off single by Starling Marte.
This was the largest WPA swing of the game, with the Pirates’ chances of victory going from 35% to 93% after the hit (58 points).
3. June 10, 2017: +0.378
The Pirates fell behind early against Miami on this June afternoon, but they hung thanks to some timely hitting. The timeliest hit came in the bottom of the seventh when Mercer ripped a game-tying two run triple. He would eventually come home to score the winning run in a 7-6 comeback victory.
Before the hit, the Pirates only had a 29% chance of victory. After it, it was 69%.
Fun fact: Felipe Vazquez picked up his first save as a Pirate in this game, too.
2. Aug. 18, 2012: +.407
One of Mercer’s first games in the majors was one of his most clutch. Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Mercer brought the Bucs back to within one with an RBI double and eventually scored the tying tally. His largest contribution of the game wasn’t a hit, but rather a HBP. He was plunked to load the bases in the top of the ninth, setting up Andrew McCutchen for a game-winning ground out to beat the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Both Mercer’s hit and HBP swung the WPA 16% in the Pirates favor that day. Not bad for a kid making just his 11th big league start.
1. May 23, 2017: +0.659
Unfortunately for Mercer, his best WPA game came in a losing effort. He helped the Pirates take a 3-1 lead in Atlanta with a home run, but the Braves rallied in the seventh to take a 4-3 advantage.
Trailing and down to the team’s last strike in the ninth, Mercer ripped a go-ahead bases loaded single to give the Bucs a 5-4 advantage. The hit swung the Pirates’ chances of winning from 23% to 83%, but that proved to be not quite enough. Matt Adams walked it off in the home half of the ninth, squandering a great night by Mercer.
Thanks for the memories, Jordy. See you June 18 and 19 when the Tigers come to town.
The Rule V draft will be held today from 9-11 a.m.. Brandon Waddell and Tyler Eppler are two unprotected Pirates that I think could be candidates to be swiped.
Cutch is getting paid because the Phillies desperately need outfield help.
A shameless self-plug: the winter meetings episode of The River Blast Podcast is out now.
To cap this post off, here’s a replay of one of the best double-plays PNC Park has ever seen.