Offensive evolution last five years

It’s interesting to see how offense in the game has evolved the last five years.

For instance, doubles and strikeouts are up in MLB while home runs are generally down and, perhaps as a result of the power loss, more bases are being successfully swiped and fewer thrown out.

It’s also interesting to see how hitting has pulsed – up one year and down the next since 2003 with 2007 being a down year.

Looking at the graphs below, you can immediately see the impact of an inexperienced hitting instructor in Jeff Manto compared to the veteran Gerald Perry from 2003 – 2005 as Pirate strikeouts shot through the roof. John Russell’s hitting coach is going to be a very important piece of the puzzle.

2003 was the last special year for the Pirates where they legitimately had a chance until Robert and Ogden Nutting refused to infuse any cash when the club couldn’t pay their bills and forcing Dave Littlefield to dismantle the roster. It’s been all downhill since.

Now knowing the game has pulsed on offense every two years, we can assume most teams (like the Cardinals and Astros) are going to add some pop in their tanks this year, the Cubs have already reloaded, the Reds will never have a problem scoring runs, and the Brewers are rock solid. That leaves the Pirates way down at the bottom of the barrel. And I do mean wayyyy down.

We need bats.. guys who can mash the ball over the wall 20+ times per year. Barry Bonds and his circus act, Milton Bradley, Russell Branyan off the bench perhaps if Phelps isn’t resigned, Josh Hamilton if the Reds will deal him in the division, and Geoff Jenkins all might be possible targets. Obviously, Bradley would be the most welcomed since he can play center, but don’t count on the Pirates making a move for him with the centerfielder market sky high this year.

Internally, Ryan Doumit and Steven Pearce are the best options but Pearce is playing with Team USA which is adding at bats to his resume and he’ll probably be toast by June or July next year, and who knows what will ail Doumit next year, much less where can we play him without him killing us defensively.

Jamie Romak would be the next in line but he’s not anywhere near ready, and Neil Walker has shown pop in his career and, with Bautista’s poor numbers, he could be an option to open the year at third. Unfortunately, Walker will get eaten alive on the hot corner for a few years and he’s also playing winter ball in Mexico so he’ll probably be toast after mid-year too.

Anyway, the graphs below show all the basic averages for MLB and Pirate hitters with 100 at bats or more in the respective year so you can get a feel where we are lagging just to be an ‘average’ team offensively.

The xERA stat indicates the average earned runs per nine generated.

           Players with 100 or more at bats
H/9 2B/9 3B/9 HR/9 xERA
MLB ave 2007 9.61 1.98 0.20 1.08 4.63
MLB ave 2006 9.68 1.97 0.21 1.18 4.76
MLB ave 2005 9.46 1.92 0.19 1.11 4.57
MLB ave 2004 9.57 1.93 0.20 1.20 4.75
MLB ave 2003 9.43 1.90 0.20 1.13 4.62
Pirates ave 2007 9.48 2.13 0.19 0.98 4.41
diff from MLB ave -0.13 0.16 -0.01 -0.10 -0.21
Pirates ave 2006 9.60 1.89 0.12 0.96 4.23
diff from MLB ave -0.08 -0.08 -0.09 -0.22 -0.53
Pirates ave 2005 9.38 1.93 0.24 0.93 4.29
diff from MLB ave -0.08 0.02 0.05 -0.18 -0.29
Pirates ave 2004 9.40 1.77 0.26 0.93 4.16
diff from MLB ave -0.17 -0.15 0.06 -0.27 -0.59
Pirates ave 2003 9.76 1.79 0.30 1.09 4.67
diff from MLB ave 0.33 -0.11 0.10 -0.05 0.06
BB/9 HBP/9 SB/9 SO/9 CS/9
MLB ave 2007 3.46 0.37 0.64 6.42 0.21
MLB ave 2006 3.41 0.40 0.60 6.35 0.24
MLB ave 2005 3.27 0.39 0.57 6.16 0.23
MLB ave 2004 3.51 0.40 0.57 6.34 0.24
MLB ave 2003 3.41 0.40 0.56 6.14 0.25
Pirates ave 2007 3.00 0.45 0.44 6.64 0.19
diff from MLB ave -0.46 0.08 -0.20 0.22 -0.02
Pirates ave 2006 3.02 0.60 0.44 6.99 0.14
diff from MLB ave -0.39 0.21 -0.16 0.64 -0.10
Pirates ave 2005 3.05 0.48 0.48 6.39 0.21
diff from MLB ave -0.23 0.09 -0.08 0.23 -0.02
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