2016 Pittsburgh Pirates look to continue victimizing relievers
The 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates hit very well in their first plate appearances against relief pitchers. Can that trend continue in 2016?
One of the most tried-and-true axioms in baseball is the importance of getting to the bullpen early.
This truth may be more evident for the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates than for any other club.
When I took a look at the keys to a successful encore for Francisco Cervelli, I noticed that he had a great slashline throughout 2015 when facing a reliever for the first time. Cervelli enjoyed a .923 OPS and collected nearly one-third of his 43 RBI in this scenario.
The dominance wasn’t just limited to the Pirates’ backstop. These team batting statistics show how the team “welcomed” relief pitchers in 2015.
The Pittsburgh Pirates clearly enjoyed seeing a new pitcher come into the game, which carries even more weight after considering that the club saw fewer pitches than they would have liked. In 2015, the MLB team average for P/PA (Pitches seen per plate appearance) was 3.82.
Among Pirates regulars, only Andrew McCutchen had a P/PA of 4 or greater, coming in at 4.05 for the season. As per Sporting Charts, this ranked 24th in all of baseball. Cervelli was next with a rating of 3.91, good for 55th. Gregory Polanco was the third-highest ranking Pirate landing at number 67 with a 3.87 figure.