When we last left the Pirates' pinch hitters, they were bringing down the team's offense with an astounding lack of punch. The Pirates hit .176 in pinch-hitting situations last season, with just two home runs in 227 at-bats, both second to last in the National League.
The main culprits in the Bucs' dreadful hitting off the bench were the players that got the most pinch-hit chances: Josh Harrison (4-for-29), Jeff Clement (3-for-20) and Alex Presley (2-for-17). And don't forget Yamaico Navarro and Nate McLouth combined to go 0-for-25 as pinch hitters in 2012. Clement, Navarro and McLouth are all gone, and Presley is unlikely to make the Major League roster to start the season.
Coming off such an unproductive season, including a .513 OPS from the pinch hitters, labeling the Pirates' reserve players as "weak" and "not a very strong supporting cast" seems appropriate. With all the turnover that teams' position players usually undergo, though, I looked at how the Pirates' bench players...
James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person.