Here at Rum Bunter Nick, Marty, and myself will be giving our Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 awards in the coming weeks. Here is my Pirates MVP.
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. Marty’s MVP was Starling Marte, a well thought out, and the most obvious choice, that is why I agree with him, and Starling Marte was the team’s MVP.
At the beginning of the year, in our pre season predictions, I wrote this about Marte:
"After another strong campaign in 2015, hitting .287/.337/.444, Starling Marte will continue to prove why he is a top left fielder in the Major Leagues. He will post career bests in slugging and home runs, while maintaining his elite defensive prowess in left field. Marte is a star in the making, and this year the 27-year-old will not only be the Pirates MVP, he’ll look to compete and finish in the top 5 in the National League MVP race."
Marte did in fact set a career best in slugging, with a mark of .456, which is three points better than the .453 he posted in 2014. However, his power declined compared to years past. His nine home runs are the second worst of his career, only his rookie year of 2012 when he had 182 plate appearances did he have lower. His isolated power (slugging minus average) was a career worst, 13 points lower than last season.
However, Marte did post a career high in total average ([total bases+hit by pitch+walks+stolen bases-caught stealing]/[at bats-hits+caught stealing+ground into double play]). Marte stole a career high in stolen bases (47) despite playing his fewest games since 2012.
Starling’s defense remained fine, as he finished second in baseball in outfield assets with 17, one behind Adam Eaton. His defensive runs saved finished fifth among outfielders, and only Jason Heyward had more in terms of National League players. His UZR/150 ranked tenth, with Gregory Polanco finishing ninth. His elite defense held up.
With Starling Marte slashing a .311/.362/.456 with a 121 wRC+, 47 swipes, and elite defense, Marte was no doubt the Pirates Most Valuable Player, especially when looking at guys such as Jung Ho Kang who missed large chunks of time.
I expect Marte to build off of this once again impressive season, especially if he is physically able to play 150+ games, something he has done only once in his career.