Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Marte
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The new Pirates center field is probably the most electrifying player on the Pirates, but he is also one of the most frustrating.  Marte has a low walk rate, under 4.5 percent every year outside of the 6.1 percent he posted in 2014.  His swinging strike rate has been above the league average mark ever year of his career and is career number of 12.7 percent.

Marte also swings… a lot.  The last three seasons, Marte’s swing percentages have been 50.4, 56.8, and 54.1, and that has been accompanied by o-swing (out of strike zone) percentages of 36.3, 39.4, and 39.2.  League average in swing percentages the last three years were 46.2, 46.9, and 46.5.  Those go along with o-swing percentages of 30.7, 30.6, and 30.3.

We know Marte is going to swing and swing a lot, but he still is a solid offensive player.  Marte has posted wRC+’s over 115 (low mark of 116) since 2013, and he has been below the average strikeout rate the last two seasons.

Marte’s projections have always had him low, and he has exceeded him.  His BABIP’s have constantly been high, with his lowest mark being .333 in 2015, and that was surrounded by a .373 and a .380 BABIP.  But Marte is still an offensive threat, but his lacking in true power, career .158 ISO, and low walk ability, Marte is not suited for the four or two spot.   Marte’s left with either batting third or fifth.

From The Book, we learn:

"The Book says the #5 guy can provide more value than the #3 guy with singles, doubles, triples, and walks, and avoiding outs, although the #3 guy holds an advantage with homeruns. After positions #1, #2, and #4 are filled, put your next best hitter here, unless he lives and dies with the long ball."

Marte does provide more value than Polanco, and despite being the second best hitter – a small difference in projection from Kang – Marte batting fifth is perfect, especially since he does not live and die with the long ball.