2016 Pittsburgh Pirates Awards: Marty’s MVP
Here at Rum Bunter Nick, Dave, and myself will be giving our Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 awards in the coming weeks. Starting today with my MVP pick.
The 2016 season was a disappointing one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, there were some bright spots. And in the next few weeks we will be focusing on those bright spots.
In the coming weeks Rum Bunter writers will be presenting their 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates’ MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Cy Young winners. We will start today with my 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates’ MVP: left fielder Starling Marte.
Despite hitting a career low home runs (9) for a full season, Starling Marte had arguably the best season of Major League career in 2016. Marte set a lot of new career highs in other stats, was an excellent defender once again, and made his first career All-Star Game. Furthermore, Marte was on pace to set a career high in WAR before missing most of September due to back spasms.
More from Rum Bunter
- Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Stockwatch: Outfielder Tres Gonzalez
- Pittsburgh Pirates Podcast: Rum Bunter Radio Talks Winter Meetings Fallout
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023
- Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being Improved
- Pittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official
Starling Marte finished the 2016 season with a .311/.362/.456/.818 slash line, all of which were career highs, in 529 plate appearances. Furthermore, Marte owned a career low 19.4 percent strikeout rate and a career high 47 stolen bases. Starling Marte’s wOBA (.351) and wRC+ (121) were both the second highest numbers of his career. And his 4.0 WAR led the Pirates. Furthermore, if not for injuries costing him most of September his previous career high WAR of 4.8 would have been topped.
In 2015 Starling Marte won his first career Gold Glove Award. If not for missing the last few weeks of the season, he would be a shoe-in to win one again in 2016. Honestly, he might win one again anyway.
Starling Marte finished the season with a National League leading 17 outfield assists. This was the second consecutive season in which he led the National League in outfield assists.
Additionally, Marte ranked seventh in Major League Baseball in 2016 with 17 defensive runs saved. To go along with being seventh best in the Major Leagues this was fourth best among all Major League outfielders, third best among all players in the National League, and the best among all National League outfielders.
Earlier in the season I called Starling Marte Major League Baseball’s most underrated superstar. This is because Marte is both an elite hitter and an elite defender. In fact, Marte is one of the five-to-ten best defensive players in all of baseball. And I stand by that. Starling Marte is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2016 team MVP, and could very possibly win a National League MVP before his career is over.
I expect Starling Marte to have a huge 2017 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It appears Marte is starting to turn the corner in terms of his plate patience and eye at the plate. I look for this to continue to improve in 2017 and for his home run power to return to the 15-20 range.
Honorable mention: RF Gregory Polanco, 3B Jung Ho Kang