Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs – The Outfielders
Sep 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) hits a single during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Pirates won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Left Field – Starling Marte v. Kyle Schwarber
Marte posted another fantastic, underrated season, and arguably his best one yet. It’s his third consecutive 5+ WAR season, and he set a career high in home runs (19) and RBIs (81). He still strike outs a lot more than he walks, but that’s who he is as a player at this point. He continues to be a threat on the bases with his third consecutive 30+ steal season, and he typically steals bases at around a 75 percent clip, which isn’t bad. He also has a case for Gold Glove in left field this year, as he’s the best defensive outfielder on the team and one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. He adds to his great defense with a cannon for an arm, and he’s the definition of a five-tool player, especially with the power he added this season. Marte will most likely bat out of the two-hole on Wednesday, where he’s had the most success this season. From that role, he’ll be relied upon to get on base and put his speed to use. As mentioned before with McCutchen, but even moreso with Marte, runs will be hard to come by, and stolen bases need to be taken whenever possible. Arrieta isn’t particularly great at holding runners on, like Cole, so if a runner gets on, he should be thinking about taking off.
Kyle Schwarber was one of the prospects called up this season by the Cubs, and even though he was a catching prospect and has seen time at catcher this season, he’s played primarily in left field, as the veteran Miguel Montero has cemented down the catcher role and the Cubs had a spot available for the taking in the outfield. And the Cubs wanted to get Schwarber’s bat into the lineup however possible, which has paid off. Schwarber is a power threat, as he added 16 home runs in just 60 games played this season. Schwarber has batted primarily out of the two hole this year, like Marte, but he may bat lower in the lineup on Wednesday if the Cubs want more speed at the top of the lineup and want to better put his power to use. Schwarber only has three steals this season, so he isn’t really a threat on the bases. He’s about an average defender based on his DWAR (-0.2), but he does have seven assists, so his arm shouldn’t be discounted.
Schwarber may be a star in the future, but he’s still relatively new to his outfield role. Marte has cemented his stardom this season, and can change the game in every possible way.
Verdict: Starling Marte
Next: Polanco v. Coghlan