Analysis

How Many Good Hitters Do the Pirates Need For a Legitimate Lineup?

How Many Good Hitters Do the Pirates Need For a Legitimate Lineup?

By Kevin Creagh and Steve DiMiceli

What does a team with a high WAR for hitters look like?  Why does it seem like the Pirates can just never measure up with the rest of the National League in terms of WAR for batters?

Steve DiMiceli and I sifted through the WAR data from 2008 to 2012 (using Fangraphs' WAR) for all the NL Teams.  The five years of data makes for a good representative sample and also dovetails with the full tenure of Neal Huntington as GM.  We used the 8 guys shown on Baseball Reference as the nominal starters at their position to determine each team's starting 8 hitters.  Once all the data was collected, we tiered the WAR's into the following 5 categories:

Elite -- greater than or equal to 5 WAR

Strong -- between 3.5 and 4.9 WAR

Good -- between 2.0 and 3.4 WAR

Sub-Par -- between 0.5 and 1.9 WAR

Detrimental -- less than or equal to 0.4 WAR

Keeping in mind that WAR encompasses both batting and fielding contributions, the chart below shows the top 3...

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