Pirate Maven

Brian Reynolds and Josh Bell are Chasing Batting Titles Despite Team's Failures

Even though the Pittsburgh Pirates will struggle to win 70 games this season, two players are close to being MLB leaders in two different batting categories.

It has been 28 years since the Pittsburgh Pirates have had a player who has led all of Major League Baseball in any of the Triple Crown batting categories (batting average, home runs, RBIs). This year, the Pirates have two different players who could top the majors in two of those categories. 

Brian Reynolds is currently third in the MLB in batting average with a .330 mark - just .005 behind Anthony Rendon for the top spot. If Reynolds can get hot and climb to number one, it would be the first time a Pirate has led this category since Bill Madlock did it in 1981 with a batting average of .341. Freddy Sanchez more recently paced the National League in 2006 with a .344 average, but he was narrowly beaten by the American League's Joe Mauer for the MLB crown (.347).

Josh Bell currently has the second most RBIs in baseball with 116 - just one behind his National League counterpart Freddie Freeman. You would have to go all the way back to Willie Stargell in 1973 to find the last time a Pirate was the league's best in RBIs.

One would think that, with two players among the league's best in two major batting categories, the Pirates should have had a successful season, but the Pirates had problems even Bell and Reynolds couldn't fix.

One of which, of course, is pitching. The Pirates rank 24th in ERA and 26th in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) this season. When you couple that with the fact that, despite the Bucs boasting the 5th best team batting average, they have only managed the 18th most runs scored, it is clear that they simply could not score enough runs to make up for the dreadful performance from their pitching staff.

It's not all bad though. With Reynolds and Bell being 24 and 27 years old respectively, the Bucs have a solid nucleus around which they can build their lineup. Another power hitter in the middle of that lineup would pay dividends when it comes to driving in guys like Reynolds.

The pitching staff on the other hand...well, let's just hope they get that other power hitter. 

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