According to stats guru Bill James, whose latest Baseball Handbook was released this week, Garrett Jones and … would you believe? … Pedro Alvarez were the Pirates’ top two base-stealers last season. Jones and Alvarez were the team’s only everyday players (minimum 250 at-bats) to notch a stolen base gain in positive numbers — Jones was plus-2 and Alvarez plus-1. Andrew McCutchen was minus-4 as a base-stealer, which was no surprise considering the Pirates ranked last by wide margins in stolen bases and stolen-base percentage.
Still, James ranks the Pirates as the 10th-best baserunning team in the majors last season, with plus-43 net bases gained (the A’s led with plus-144). The Pirates ran into only 23 baserunning outs, fewest in the majors. McCutchen had a plus-31 baserunning gain, which tied the Braves’ Michael Bourn for tops in the NL. Overall, the Pirates were plus-74 in baserunning gains but minus-31 in stolen bases gained — a 105-point spread that was the largest in baseball.
»»» The Silver Slugger Award winners will be announced at 6 p.m. tonight on MLB Network. The awards, which honor offensive prowess at each position, are voted upon by big league managers and coaches. Eight Pirates have won the award, the most recent being Jack Wilson in 2004. The others are Jay Bell (1993), Barry Bonds (1990, ’91 and 92), Andy Van Slyke (1988 and ’92), Bobby Bonilla (as a 3B in 1988 and an OF in 1990 and ’91), Rick Rhoden (1984, ’85 and ’86), Johnny Ray (1983) and Don Robinson (1982). The awards were first handed out in 1980.
»»» The A’s Billy Beane was named Sporting News executive of the year Wednesday at the GM meetings in California. Beane got 31 of 57 votes from a panel of major league execs. The Nats’ Mike Rizzo (13 votes) was second, followed by the Rangers’ Jon Daniels (six), the Reds’ Walt Jocketty (three), the Cardinals’ John Mozeliak (two), the Giants Brian Sabean (one) and the White Sox’s Ken Williams (one). Voting was conducted before the playoffs began. Since the award was founded in 1936, it has been won by only two Pirates GMs: Joe L. Brown in 1958 and Cam Bonifay in the “Freak Show” season of 1997.