Team Spending: Pitch-burgh Pirates

Team Spending: Pitch-burgh Pirates
Pitch-burgh Pirates

Pitch-burgh Pirates

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are 14 games over .500 and 2nd in the league in win percentage (.630) going into June. The Pirates haven't seen this kind of success in a long time. The last time the Pirates were over .500 going into June was 1999. The Pirates are having success on the field with the 5th lowest payroll.

However, the biggest and obvious surprise is the Pirates' pitching core. It's the main reason they have been succeeding so far this season. Their production on the mound has allowed them to win games even when their batting production has not been stellar. They rank near the top in all of the major categories. Their run differential is a +29; however, all of the teams with records near the Pirates are greater than or equal to +50.

With just over $22 millon begin spent on pitching this year, the Pirates are proving how pivotal and valuable pitching rotations and relievers have become. The two highest paid pitchers on the Pirates rotation are Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett at $8 million, which ranks them as the 119th highest MLB player and 44th highest Starting Pitchers. Furthermore, Jeff Locke is 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA (6th best in MLB) only costing the Pirates $497,500. Finally, Jason Grilli has a league high 22 saves as the 63rd highest relief pitcher at $2.5 million.

Let's take a look at the numbers:
Payroll Breakdown
Payroll MLB Rank
Infield $25,508,000 12
Outfield $5,713,333 25
Pitching $22,017,500 21
Total $63,923,500 26
Team Pitching

Their Ace

A.J. Burnett has revived his career since moving to the National League/Pittsburgh from the Yankees, and has become a true #1 for the Bucs rotation.

Rank: Burnett's $8 million 2013 salary ranks 15th among MLB Aces.

Their Closer

Jason Grilli has become the real deal at the back-end for the Pirates the past two seasons. In 24.2 innings this year the former Tiger has allowed just 12 hits and five walks while striking out 38.

Rank: Grilli's $2.5 million 2013 salary ranks 11th among closers.
Statistic Value MLB Rank
ERA 3.12 2
Saves 24 1
Wins 34 2
Strikeouts 432 8
WHIP 1.19 2
Runs Allowed 180 2
ESPN Stats & Info
Team Batting


There are only 2 teams in the league who don't currently carry a player with a $10M+ salary in 2013: the Houston Astros, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. With that being said, we took a glance at the top-earning position player on each team to determine how the Pirates' ceiling ranks. Rank: Russell Martin's $7.5 million 2013 salary is the 26th highest top-earning position player on a MLB team.
(A.J. Burnett/Wandy Rodriguez are the top earning players on the Pirates at $8M)

Best Value

Left-Fielder Starling Marte has broken out in his 2nd season, currently with 61 hits, 10 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 18 RBIS, 14 stolen bases, and a .285 batting average - all at the low low price of $500,000 in 2013.

Rank: Marte's $500k 2013 salary ranks 45th among left fielders, and 610th among MLB players.
Statistic Value MLB Rank
Runs 209 21
Hits 435 24
RBI 202 19
HR 53 17
AVG .243 25
OBP .308 21
OBP .391 21
Run Differential +29 7
ESPN Stats & Info