By John Perrotto
Another Pirates’ season is over and what a season it was — for a lot of reasons.
It went from the highs of the Pirates going from 105 losses in 2010 to leading the National League Central as late as July 26. Then the plummet started and it never ended until the Pirates finished 72-90 for thekir 19th consecutive losing season, finishing in fourth place in the division, 24 games behind the champion Milwaukee Brewers and just one game in front of the fifth-place Chicago Cubs.
So, now it’s time to pass out grades, limiting it to the 13 players with the most plate appearances who finished the season with the Pirates and the 12 pitchers with the most innings:
Pedro Alvarez — Nobody on this team was a bigger disappointment as he completely flopped and left questions about how much impact he could make in the future. Grade: F
Stats Watch: Batted .191 with 4 home runs – 19 RBI’s on the season. Batted .173 (19-for-11) with 2 home runs – 9 RBI’s following the All-Star Break.
Ronny Cedeno — Grade: D
Kevin Correia — He had a good year until the bottom fell out in early July, which means one day 25 years from now someone will be surfing baseball-reference.com and say to himself, “Kevin Correia was really selected to an All-Star Game?”
Stats Watch: Went 12-11 with a 4.77 ERA. 1-4 with a 7.23 ERA following All-Star break.
Ryan Doumit — He still couldn’t catch a lick and he had his annual serious injury but no one can deny that he swung the bat great when healthy. Grade: A
Stats Watch: Hit .303 with 8 home runs – 30 RBI’s in 77 Games. Batted .328 (41-for-125) following the All-Star Break.
Joel Hanrahan — He had a great year with 40 saves and did it despite never having command of his slider, his true wipeout pitch. Grade: A.
Stats Watch: Posted a 1.81 ERA with 40 saves.
Josh Harrison — He was much improved when the Pirates called him up for a second time and proved to be a better option at third base than the much more herald Alvarez. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Batted .272 with 1 home run – 16 RBI’s. Walked just 3 times in 195 at-bats. Was consistent, hitting .274 (23-for-84) before All-Star break and .270 (30-for-111) following All-Star Break
Garrett Jones — The league caught up to him and exposed him as someone more suited to part-time duty than everyday action. Grade: D
Stats Watch: Started 90 games in right field and 34 at 1st base. Hit .243 with 16 home runs – 58 RBI’s.
Jeff Karstens — He pitched pretty well in the rotation after starting the season as the long reliever but that’s by Pirates’ standards, not general league standards. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Went 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Allowed 3 earned runs or less in 19 straight games (4/23 – 7/31)
Derrek Lee — Perhaps the Pirates would have stayed in contention if he wouldn’t have broken his wrist less than a week after they acquired him from Baltimore in a deadline trade but he was terrific when healthy. Grade: A
Stats Watch: Batted .337 (34-for-101) with 7 home runs – 18 RBI’s with the Pirates.
Brad Lincoln — He took a positive step forward this season and should get serious consideration for a rotation spot in spring training. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Went 2-3 with a 4.72 ERA with the Pirates in 2011, spending time as a starter and reliever in the second half of the season.
Paul Maholm — He had a pretty good year by Pirates’ standards despite a lack of run support. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Posted a career low 3.66 ERA, to go with an awful 6-14 record. Maholm went 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA in seven starts following the All-Star Break.
Andrew McCutchen — He was A+ at the All-Star break but a so-so second half drops him a bit. Grade: A-
Stats Watch: Hit .259 with 23 home runs – 89 RBI. Stole 23 bases, hitting the 20-20 club. Hit just .216 after the All-Star Break.
Daniel McCutchen — His 5 2/3-inning outing in the 19-inning loss at Atlanta was the most heroic act in club history–if you believe the Pirates’ broadcasters–though he did prove to be durable and reasonable effective all season. Grade: C
James McDonald — He tantalized with some great outings but frustrated with some clunkers and the inability to command and control his pitches consistently. Grade: D
Stats Watch: Was .500, going 9-9 with a 4.21 ERA. Went 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA at home.
Michael McKenry — He was a great story in going from Triple-A backup in Boston’s farm system to starting for the Pirates, but in the end, he was what he is and that’s a No. 2 catcher on a losing team. Grade: D
Stats Watch: Batted .222 with 2 home runs – 11 RBI’s in 58 Games Played.
Charlie Morton — He showed some improvement while giving the beat writers reason to completely, totally and overwhelmingly obsess about his new Roy Halladay-style delivery. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Went 10-10 with a 3.89 ERA.
Ross Ohlendorf — He failed as a pitcher this year but he is such a brilliant guy that I couldn’t fathom him ever having an F on a report card. Grade: D
Stats Watch: Was a putrid 1-3 with a 8.15 ERA in an injury plagued season. 2-14 in his last two seasons.
Xavier Paul — He proved to be an average backup outfielder, nothing more or nothing less. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Hit .255 with 2 home runs – 20 RBI’s. Stole 16 bases. Hit .093 (4-for-43) as a pinch hitter.
Alex Presley — The wee man played great after being called up in June and sparked an often moribund lineup when he batted leadoff. Grade: B
Stats Watch: Batted .298 with 4 home runs – 20 RBI. Stole 9 bases. Hit .302 in leadoff spot, .258 in No. 2 spot.
Chris Resop — As a tip of the hat to Moneyball being a box office hit, you should know he was the bad luck pitcher of the year as his 10.21 strikeouts per nine innings were cancelled by a .344 batting average on balls in play. Grade: B
Jose Tabata — He shows flashes of brilliance but his ability to translate his bat speed into more power and the frequency in which he gets injured leaves questions. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Hit .266 with 4 home runs – 21 RBI’s in 91 games, 334 at-bats. Batted .290 (65-for-224) in leadoff role.
Jose Veras — His meltdowns seemed to all come at the most inopportune times but he was durable and mostly effective. Grade: C
Neil Walker — He proved that his rookie season wasn’t a fluke but he needs to tighten up the plate discipline and defense to become an above average player. Grade: C
Stats Watch: Hit .273 with 12 home runs – 83 RBI’s. With runners in scoring position, hit .271 with 67 RBI’s.
Tony Watson — He had the ups and down of a typical rookie but showed enough to make one think he could be an effective left-handed reliever in the major leagues. Grade: C
Brandon Wood — The Pirates hoped to catch lightning in a bottle when they claimed him off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels but he didn’t even produce a small thunderstorm. Grade: D
John Perrotto has covered the Pirates and Major League Baseball for 24 years.