Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates had a ton of success due to an approach that focused on pitching and defense. This approach was largely overlooked, and the success was chalked up to something that couldn't be sustained. The cries all summer were for the Pirates to add a bat, with the feeling that they couldn't continue winning games by focusing on pitching and defense. Yet the Pirates continued to win games with this approach.
It's not like the Pirates are the first team to try such an approach. The San Francisco Giants won a World Series in 2010 with below average offensive numbers, and well above average defensive and pitching numbers. They scored 697 runs that year, which ranked 9th overall in the NL, but only allowed 583 runs, which ranked second best in the NL. By comparison, the Pirates ranked ninth in the NL last year in runs and second best in runs allowed. So I don't think it was a fluke that the Pirates had such a successful season, despite a below average offense.
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.