Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #2 Andrew McCutchen

mccuthen

Year Age G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 22 108 124 12 54 22 .286 .365 .471 .836
2010 23 154 163 16 56 33 .286 .365 .449 .814
2011 24 158 148 23 89 23 .259 .364 .456 .820
2012 25 157 194 31 96 20 .327 .400 .553 .953
4 Yrs 577 629 82 295 98 .290 .374 .484 .858
Andrew McCutchen took over centerfield at PNC Park in 2009 after Nate McLouth was traded, and fans weren’t happy at first.  Cutch debuted with an impressive showing against the Mets, and hasn’t looked back since.  In 2010, his first full season, he put up impressive numbers but was the lone bright spot on a terrible team.  The Bucs took off in 2011, led by Cutch, who may have become too fatigued and put too much pressure on himself as the team faded down the stretch.  After ending the first month of the 2012 season without a home run, Cutch went off.  He flirted with a .400 average and was the clear MVP winner as the team soared to the league-best record in July.  Unfortunately, that .380+ average slowly dropped as August began and the team collapsed as Cutch cooled off.  But what’s most impressive about his numbers from last season is that he did it all while having down months in April, August, and September.  Still, he picked up a Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove, which won’t be the last awards he’ll win in his career.  Even with his electrifying defense and pop at the plate, he still has room to improve.  Luckily, Cutch is locked up through at least 2018 and when this franchise finally gets turned around, he’ll be right in the middle of everything.  Within the next few years, he could very well move into the #1 spot in this top ten.

Photo: Brock Fleeger/Creative Commons

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PirateFest Recap

The 23rd Annual PirateFest kicked off on Friday afternoon and into the night for season ticket holders.  Nothing was too out of the ordinary about this year, but it was once again a solid time.

Cutch, Clint Barmes, Jose Tabata, and Pedro Alvarez sign autographs:

PirateFest Autographs

The highly-anticipated Pirates management Q&A, which didn’t live up to expectations:

PirateFest Q&A

New (old) alternate hat and jersey to be worn on Sundays in 2013 that will pay tribute to the Bucs of the early 1970s:

PirateFest Sunday Alternate Uniform

ROOT Sports will bring back Monday Night Classics this winter, and here’s the schedule:

PirateFest Pirates Playback Monday Night Classics

The crowd was pretty big for the STH night, so expect it to be crowded on Saturday and Sunday as well.  Pretty much everything you’d expect at PirateFest made a return, including batting cages, autographs, games with prizes, and other booths to check out some cool baseball stuff and pick up a few free items.  If you’re looking for a Russell Martin  shirt or new Sunday hat/jersey, then you can check out the small store right by the entrance.  The game-used authentic store is very large, and has some awesome memorabilia from all different years, especially 2012.   The management Q&A was highly anticipated, but most fans asked standard questions and Huntington/Coonelly/Hurdle gave pretty thoughtful and true answers.  They seemed to loosen up because the crowd was all STH, but Saturday and Sunday could be interesting with some upset fans attending.  Just about every fan-favorite player will be attending this weekend, so you can pick up some autographs.  Check out a full autograph schedule here.  If you’re looking for a baseball fix and have been missing the Bucs, definitely head down to the convention center this weekend.

Go Bucs

Sneak Peek at Pirates Promotions

We had the opportunity to head down to the season ticket holder batting practice at PNC Park tonight. After taking a few cuts in the cages, we headed to the Hall of Fame Club for a light dinner. In the Club, they were playing a video on loop of the 2013 promotions.

There were four in particular that really stood out:

- A.J. Burnett Free Shirt Friday
Friday, April 12th vs. Cincinnati

2013 Promotions - A.J. Shirt

- Andrew McCutchen Bobblehead
Saturday, April 20th vs. Atlanta

2013 Promotions - Cutch bobblehead

- A.J. Burnett Bobblehead
Saturday, May 18th vs. Houston

2013 Promotions - A.J. bobblehead

- Replica Sunday Alternate Hat
Sunday, June 16th vs. Los Angeles

2013 Promotions - Sunday alternate hat

The introduction of the new Sunday alternate jersey has been highly anticipated. There is a replica alternate jersey giveaway on August 4th, but they unfortunately did not have a picture of it on the slide show. That hat obviously looks nothing like this possible mock-up we found a few weeks back.

The yellow crown with black bill would certainly be an interesting look. Based on the picture, we assume it’s similar to the hat worn in the early ’70s:

The Pirates wore a comparable uniform back in 2011 when they celebrated the 1971 World Series:

However, this leaves us unsure of how the jerseys will turn out. They could be similar to the ones above, but who knows if they will to go back to that style.

Anyway, more of the promotions should be on display at PirateFest this weekend. Hopefully they reveal the Sunday alternate jersey as well.

Go Bucs

Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #3 Brian Giles

Giles

Year Age G R H HR RBI BA OPS
1999 28 141 109 164 39 115 .315 1.032
2000 29 156 111 176 35 123 .315 1.026
2001 30 160 116 178 37 95 .309 .994
2002 31 153 95 148 38 103 .298 1.072
2003 32 105 70 116 16 70 .299 .951
PIT (5 yrs) 715 501 782 165 506 .308 1.018

Brian Giles performed at a high level for the Bucs from 1999 to 2003, especially offensively. He came to Pittsburgh from Cleveland in November of 1998, in exchange for Ricardo Rincon. Giles’ best years as a Pirate came in Three Rivers Stadium. His two and a half seasons in PNC Park were still spectacular, as he mashed a combined 91 home runs and 268 RBI. The two defining moments of his Bucco career: his walk-off grand slam after the Pirates trailed by six runs headed to the bottom of the ninth on July 28th, 2001 (video) and his phenomenal catch to rob Brandon Phillips of a home run on June 23rd, 2003 (video). Giles was traded to his hometown of San Diego in August of 2003 after a memorable five seasons the ‘Burgh. The Pirates received Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and minor leaguer Corey Stewart in the deal. Giles went on to play through 2009, and finished his career as a .291/.400/.502 hitter.

Photo: ewen and donabel/Creative Commons

MLB Network Discusses Pirates’ Offseason Wish List

The Pirates got some air time on MLB Network on Friday, as Billy Ripken, Mitch Williams, and Ahmed Fareed talked about the Bucs’ offseason wish list on MLB Tonight.

Here’s a video we captured of the segment:

*Sorry for the poor audio quality; you may need to turn up the volume.

They focused on three areas: shortstop, corner outfield, and starting pitcher.

At shortstop, Bill Ripken feels the Pirates should stick with Clint Barmes. Mitch Williams, on the other hand, suggested acquiring Dee Gordon from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ripken went out on a limb and decided he wants to Bucs to make a run at Josh Hamilton, who is the most prized outfielder on the market. “This big man patrolling the outfield with McCutchen out there and with Marte out there; you got the possibility of having one of the best outfields in all of baseball,” he said. Ripken went on to say, “I don’t know if they can pull the trigger… He would look good in the black and gold.” Williams stated that he’d rather stick with Marte and Snider at the corners.

As for a starting pitcher, Ripken suggests Edwin Jackson, and Williams likes Ryan Dempster in the Bucco rotation.