MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates: 5 Things We’ve Learned Midway Through 2014

5 Things We've Learned About Pittsburgh Pirates Midway Through 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdle
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

It has been a slow first half for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014, but they appear to be getting on the right track finally. Through 76 games, the Pirates are at 38-38 and look to be trending upward.

5. Andrew McCutchen Still A Legitimate MVP Candidate

Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Andrew McCutchen Still A Legitimate MVP Candidate

Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the 2013 NL MVP is trying to make himself the 2014 NL MVP. In 340 plate appearances, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .317/.424/.525 with a 169 wRC+. His offense is still there, but his base-running has reached a new level; he is 12-12 in stolen base attempts this year.

4. Russell Martin is Extremely Important to the Pirates

Russell Martin Pittsburgh Pirates
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Russell Martin is Extremely Important to the Pirates

Russell Martin Pittsburgh Pirates
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A top-five all-around catcher, Russell Martin is the engine that keeps the Pirates going. He's hitting .265/.413/.375 with a wRC+ of 133, but his defense has been even more important to the Pirates in 2014.

3. Josh Harrison ... All-Star?

Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

3. Josh Harrison ... All-Star?

Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds crazy, but Josh Harrison is third on the Pirates with a 1.6 fWAR this season. In 198 plate appearances, Harrison is hitting .304/.348/.473 with a 130 wRC+. He has been a major spark plug for the Bucs' offense in 2014.

2. Tony Watson is an Elite Reliever

Tony Watson Pittsburgh Pirates
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

2. Tony Watson is an Elite Reliever

Tony Watson Pittsburgh Pirates
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Watson has been very good for three straight years, but he has reached a whole new level in 2014. In 35 innings, Watson has a 0.77 ERA and a 1.97 FIP. He also features an impressive 11.31 K/9.

1. Jason Grilli is Washed Up

Jason Grilli Pittsburgh Pirates
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jason Grilli is Washed Up

Jason Grilli Pittsburgh Pirates
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, especially for older players coming off of an injury. Jason Grilli did great things for the Pirates over the past three years, but it looks like he may be about done. In 19.2 innings, Grilli has a 4.12 ERA with a 5.63 FIP, while seeing a major decline in his K/9 and an inflated BB/9.