Throwback Thursday: Top Pirates Plays of 2006

chris-duffy pirates

Last week, we looked back on some of the Pirates’ top plays of 2005 as a “Throwback Thursday.” We’ll keep it going this week with 2006, a team which once again brought 95 losses to the Steel City…

10. Let’s start with some Jose Castillo… -11 defensive runs saved at 2B in 2006, but he picked it here:

jose castillo pirates

9. Over to third base with the ’06 All-Star, Freddy Sanchez

freddy sanchez 2006

8. Freddy out of nowhere to convert a double play:

freddy sanchez double play

7. Jack Wilson. What an arm.

jack wilson throw

6. More Jack… Over the shoulder… Ho hum:

jack wilson over the shoulder catch

5. Head to the outfield. J-Bay:

jason bay pirates

4. A young Nate McLouth:

nate mclouth pirates

3. Jose Bautista before he got good:

jose bautista pirates

2. Chris Duffy doing his thing in center field:

chris duffy pirates

1. And lastly, Duffy again with one of the better catches at PNC:

chris duffy catch

We’re officially under a week till pitchers & catchers report…

Go Bucs

*Note: Testing out a new layout on the site. If you encounter any problems, let us know. 

Throwback Thursday: Top Pirates Plays of 2005

Yes, you read that correctly — 2005. The Pirates have a top plays archive in the backend of their website that you should check out if you have some extra time. In honor of “Throwback Thursday,” here’s a handful of the best plays from the Bucs’ 95-loss season of 2005…

10. Matt Lawton on the run. Did you know he hit .273/.380/.433 (119 wRC+) in 101 games with the Bucs?

matt lawton

9. Paul Maholmnow a Red — getting off the mound:


8. 2005 was the only year that Jose Castillo saved more runs at 2B for the Pirates than he cost them:


7. A “Chris Duffy Dandy”:

duffy dandy

6. More Duff Man:

duffy dive

5. Jason Bay robbery, part I:

bay rob

4. Jason Bay robbery, part II:

bay wall

3.Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Could probably have a separate post of just Jack Wilson plays, honestly.

jumpin jack

2. #2 making it look easy as usual, going deep in the hole and nailing the jump throw:

jack jump throw

1. One of my favorite plays ever. And it wasn’t the only time they pulled it off. Jack and Castillo practiced this.

jack castillo

That was also the night Big Country Brad Eldred made his MLB debut. Sigh.

Go check out the full top plays archive for more.

60 days until the opener…

Go Bucs

Pittsburgh Pirates Single Season Team: PNC Park Era

Pittsburgh Pirates single season team

Last week, there were some interesting posts on Bucs Dugout and Eye on Baseball which featured the Pirates’ “All-Time Single Season Team.” They both ranked the best single seasons in team history, position-by-position.

Since the lists mainly consisted of players before our time (with the exception of Cutch), I figured I’d recognize some of the best individual seasons in recent memory by doing a similar list for the PNC Park era.

We did something along the same lines last winter, ranking the top ten Pirates since PNC opened. This is a little different in that it’ll go by position and depend solely on single season success.

To do it as simply as possible, I used FanGraphs’ WAR to be the judge. Whether or not you’re a fan of WAR, it’s still an all-encompassing stat that will give us an idea of who was the best at each spot.

So, here they are, the best Pittsburgh Pirates of the last 13 years, 2001 – 2013…

Catcher: Jason Kendall, 2004 = 4.7 WAR

No surprise here. An all-around solid backstop, Kendall had a nice year in 2004, his last season as a Pirate. He was a tough out, hitting .317 with a .399 OBP and a low 6.2 K%. From behind the dish, Kendall threw out runners at a 36% rate.

Honorable mention: The 2003 version of Kendall was pretty good, too (4.3 WAR). And how about Russell Martin? His 2013 was worth 4.3 wins above replacement.

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First BaseGarrett Jones, 2009 = 2.7 WAR

The fact that Jones was much more valuable over 82 games than any other first baseman in the last 13 years shows how much the Pirates have struggled at the position. And it’s still a weakness.

G.I. Jones broke into the bigs in July of ’09, hitting .293 with 23 homers and a .938 OPS. Besides a nice showing in 2012, Jones never reached those heights again, but he was at least productive enough to make a career out of it. He picked up a two-year, $7.75 million deal from Miami this winter.

Honorable mention: Adam LaRoche (2007) and Matt Stairs (2003) tied for second in WAR at 1.9. Really not much there; serious lack of talent overall.

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Second BaseFreddy Sanchez, 2005/2007 = 2.8 WAR

“Steady Freddy” was just a solid hitter for Bucs through the mid-2000’s. His best year was in 2006 when he won the NL batting title, but that was when he was over at 3B (more on that in a second).

Honorable mention: Neil Walker‘s last three seasons, in order, are right behind Sanchez. If he can stay healthy for a full year, maybe get a little luckier with the BABIP, maybe hit a little bit more from the right-side, I could see him being a 3-win player.

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Third BaseAramis Ramirez, 2001 = 4.7 WAR

A-Ram opened PNC with a bang, hitting .300/.350/.536 with 34 HR and 112 RBI in the stadium’s inaugural season.

Honorable mention: As previously mentioned, Sanchez had a great 2006 over at third base, but Ramirez just beat out his 4.5 WAR.

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ShortstopJack Wilson, 2004 = 4.4 WAR

Wilson was an All-Star and Silver Slugger in ’04, hitting .308/.335/.459 with a league-leading 12 triples. Jack Flash entertained with the glove on a nightly basis, as he saved 11 runs and posted an 8.0 UZR.

Honorable mention: Wilson in ’07, ’05, and ’09… then Jordy Mercer last year at 1.4 WAR. Shortstop has been a huge area of weakness for the Pirates since Jack left.

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Left FieldBrian Giles, 2002 = 6.8 WAR

Take a moment to take in these incredible numbers: .298/.450/.622, 38 HR, 103 RBI. That insane .450 on-base percentage ranked second in the league, only behind … Barry Bonds at .582.

Honorable mention: The man who replaced him/was acquired for him, Jason Bay, had a few great years. Starling Marte was pretty good last year at 4.5 WAR.

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Center Field: Andrew McCutchen, 2013 = 8.2 WAR

Not even close here. MVP.

Honorable mention: Pretty much every season of Cutch, plus Nate McLouth (2008), etc.

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Right Field: Reggie Sanders, 2003 = 2.9 WAR

Another position that hasn’t been too kind to the Bucs. Sanders hit the ball well in 2003, though: .285 average, .913 OPS, 31 homers. It was his only season in Pittsburgh.

Honorable mention: Xavier Nady? Craig Wilson? Again, not much there.

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Starting Pitchers (Leaderboard)

Oliver Perez, 2004 = 4.4 WAR

A.J. Burnett, 2013 = 4.0 WAR

Ian Snell, 2007 = 3.1 WAR

Francisco Liriano, 2013 = 3.1 WAR

Todd Ritchie, 2001 = 3.0 WAR

Honorable mention: Paul Maholm, Zach Duke.

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Relief Pitchers (Leaderboard)

Mark Melancon, 2013 = 2.5 WAR

Joel Hanrahan, 2011 = 1.7 WAR

Matt Capps, 2007 = 1.7 WAR

Mike Gonzalez, 2004 = 1.6 WAR

Josias Manzanillo, 2001 = 1.6 WAR

Jason Grilli, 2013 = 1.5 WAR

Salomon Torres, 2004 = 1.2 WAR

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Thoughts? Let us know.

Go Bucs

Throwback Thursday: Jack Flash’s Slick Double Play

Each Thursday from now until the start of the season, we will post a “throwback” video from the archives.

The Bucs were on the eastern side of the state in July of 2009 to take on the Phillies. Sharp-fielding Jack Wilson made one of his spectacular web gems out at shortstop with a ridiculous double play. Shane Victorino chipped a shallow fly ball into left, and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” slid with his back to home plate to record the out. Then, he fired the ball back to first base in order to double-up Jimmy Rollins. Check it out:

18 days until Opening Day.

Go Bucs

Previous Editions:
Stanley Cup Visits PNC Park
Ward Meets the Wall
Cordova, Rincon No-Hit Houston
Giles Climbs the Wall
Cutch’s Three-Homer Night

Bucs Turn a Triple Play in Cincy
Kendall Leaps to Score
Mackowiak’s Walk-Off Grand Slam
Mesa’s 300th Save

#FTFTrivia Answer 2/21/13

Tonight we asked…

and the answer to tonight’s #FTFTrivia is…

Jack Wilson

Offensively, Jack Flash had his best season in 2004.  Among his 201 hits were 12 triples, making him the last Pirate to hit more than 10 in a season.  His .301 batting average helped him win a Silver Slugger, and he was the only Bucco to make the All-Star team that year.

Wilson is actually the only player to collect double digit triples in a season since the Pirates have moved to PNC Park.  The only other player to come close was Andrew McCutchen, who hit 9 in his rookie year.  The next Pirate to hit more than 10 will most likely be a right-handed hitter, considering the large left field and “North Side Notch” in left-center.

Starling Marte has the potential to hit plenty of triples, as he possesses a combination of speed and power. Bill James predicts Starling to hit 11 triples in 2013, while ZiPS projects 14.

Congratulations to tonight’s winners: @johnlucas18, @SpinuptheFTL, and @Zach_Morrison1.

Thanks to all who participated, and tune in next time for another edition of #FTFTrivia.

Go Bucs