Top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates of the first half

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Jul 11, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) doubles against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

#7 – Starling Marte

When analysts and fans were looking for breakout candidates this year, one name that probably jumped out the most was Starling Marte. Yes, he’s already been a success in the majors so far, but he had yet to put together one full season of dominant outfield play. Needless to say, he’s done that so far this year.

He’s batting .279 this season, but what stands out in 2015 are his power numbers. He’s already hit 13 home runs, which matches his career-high set in 2014. He also has 49 RBIs, which puts him on pace to far surpass his career-high total of 56 RBIs from last season. His on-base percentage could improve from the .328 mark it’s currently at, but that’s not as important as it has been for him in the past, considering the amount of time he’s spent batting lower in the lineup.

He has a WAR of 2.2 so far, which is good for any outfielder. But what puts him above guys like Watson and Hughes is the fact that he’s been one of the few offensive forces in an overall average lineup for the Pirates this year. He’s added power in the middle of the order, one thing that the Pirates needed more than anything else coming into the year. This has allowed guys like Harrison and Gregory Polanco to jump to the top of the lineup at times and use their speed better. Marte had a big second half of the season in 2014, so look for him to surge forward offensively after the All-Star break.

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