Yesterday we tackled the improvement in the Pirate pitching staff in 2009, noting where improvements in defense and the starting rotation made the Pirates a better team last year. Today, we have to tackle a much more depressing subject; the team's drop from 735 runs in 2008 to 636 in 2009.

This task is less straightforward than pitching. When discussing pitching, we can just say that "DEFENSE!" helped the pitchers and leave it as an amorphous cloud. When discussing offense, it has to be taken into consideration that the players that scored 99 fewer runs in 2009 were also partially responsible for the 116 saved in the field.

More on this, plus a longer discussion about replacement value and the true talent of the 2009 Pirates, after the jump.

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