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Mike Wysocki’s Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park 15th-Anniversary Team

Andrew McCutchen is a once-in-a-generation gem

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PNC Park turns 15 years old this season. In its honor, I proudly reveal my picks for the PNC Park 15th-Anniversary Team. The criterion — as much as there was one — is that only the player’s total numbers accrued since the park opened were considered. Also, please remember that the majority of the PNC Park clubs were not so good.

First Base: Craig Wilson .268, 94 HR, 282 RBI

This was by far the toughest position to pick. The Bucs have had more than 50 men play this position since the park opened; it’s been a turnstile of incompetence. Wilson was the best of a mediocre bunch. 

Backup: Adam LaRoche

Second Base: Neil Walker .272, 93 HR, 282 RBI

It’s going to be hard to watch Walker play in a Mets uniform this year and I still can’t believe he’s gone. 

Backup: Freddy Sanchez

Third Base: Pedro Alvarez .236, 131 HR, 401 RBI

This is another position with no clear-cut favorites, but I think the nod goes to Pedro. Despite being the definition of the term “hit or miss,” he did lead the National League in homers a few years ago.

Backup: Aramis Ramirez

Shortshop: Jack Wilson .269, 60 HR 389 RBI

Wilson was just a solid ballplayer and all-around good guy. I really wish he could have experienced a winning Pirates season.

Backup: Jordy Mercer (you got any better ideas?)

Catcher: Jason Kendall .298, 22 HR 206 RBI

This was one of my grandfather’s favorite players because he wasn’t one of those sissies that had to wear batting gloves. 

Backup: Russell Martin

Leftfield: Jason Bay .281, 139 HR, 452 RBI

Jason Bay was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He suffered with zero talent around him here before taking the Mets for a truckload of money on his way out of baseball. He made the best out of a bad situation.

Backup: Lastings Milledge. Just kidding, it’s obviously Starling Marte.

Centerfield: Andrew McCutchen .298, 151 HR, 558 RBI

We finally get an easy one. He has more homers and RBI than anyone on this list. He’s a once-in-a-generation gem.

Backup: Nate McLouth? Tike Redman? How about a clone of Andrew McCutchen?

Rightfield: Brian Giles .303 91 HR 268 RBI

He had more than 91 home runs as a Pirate, but we’re just counting PNC stats. He’s one of those guys that you forget how good he really was.

Backup: Believe it or not, Garrett Jones 

Starting Rotation

  1. 1. Gerrit Cole 40-20 3.07

  2. 2. A.J. Burnett 35-28 3.34

  3. 3. Francisco Liriano 35-25 3.48

  4. 4. Paul Maholm 53-73 4.29

  5. 5. Kris Benson 22-23 4.60

When one of your best pitchers is 20 games under .500, needless to say there won’t be any backups. Maybe by the 20th-Anniversary Team we’ll have some new talent to knock Benson and Maholm off the list.

Bullpen

Closer: Mark Melancon 9-9, 1.85 ERA, 100 saves

Setup: Tony Watson 24-8, 2.46 ERA, 

These are two of the best relief pitchers in the game right now. Joel Hanrahan, Matt Capps, and Jose Mesa all had decent careers here, but not like these two.


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