May 26, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) doubles against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Most Valuable Player – Starling Marte
There has been one position player for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season that has been consistently good so far this season, and that player is Starling Marte. He’s been getting better and better since he was called up from the minors in 2012, and he’s looking to put together a performance like he did in the second half of 2014 over the course of an entire season. He leads the team in RBIs with 31, total bases with 85, and hits with 47, and is tied for the team lead in home runs with nine. He’s also tied for second among Pirate position players in WAR at 1.2. He’s dropped down to the middle of the order this year, and has been able to put his power on display in a spot where it can better be put to use.
Marte’s been consistent this season, and always seems to get a hit or contribute offensively when the rest of the team can’t. Other players have been hotter recently, but no one has done what Marte has up to this point.
Runner-Up – Andrew McCutchen
Boy has McCutchen gotten hot as of late. After batting .194 in April, he’s yanked his average up to .262 thanks to a great month of May. He’s batting .303 this month with a .927 OPS. If this award was given at the end of May, Cutch may very well be the Pirates’ team MVP. His lingering knee injury doesn’t seem to be bothering him anymore, and as long as Josh Harrison continues to get stay hot and get on base in front of him, good things will continue to happen for the 2013 NL MVP.
It’ll be a fascinating race to the mid-season awards, as we’ll get to see if Burnett can hold up in his age-38 season, who ends up receiving most of the playing time at shortstop, and who is the best run producer in the middle of the lineup by the time summer really gets underway.