The Most Important Pittsburgh Pirates in the Season’s Second Half

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 29: John Jaso /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 09: Starling Marte
PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 09: Starling Marte /

Starling Marte

Pirate left fielder Starling Marte has not played since April 18th. This is due to an 80 game PED suspension. However, this suspension is about to end.

Marte is eligible to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. When he returns he will take back his role as the team’s everyday left fielder. Additionally, he will also take on a vital role for the team throughout the rest of the season.

Getting Starling Marte back should be a huge boost to the Pirates both offensively and defensively. The two-time Gold Glove winner is the best defensive left fielder in baseball, and one of the best defensive outfielders period. He has led the National League in outfield assists each of the past two seasons. His defense in left field will be light years better than Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna.

Starling Marte is also one of the team’s best hitters. Entering the 2017 season Starling Marte owned a lifetime .345 wOBA, 121 wRC+, 160 career stolen bases, and a 17.7 fWAR. Next to Andrew McCutchen, Marte has had the highest fWAR of any Pirate since his Major League debut. His fWAR is 13th best in the National League during this time.

There are very few players in all of baseball that can impact a game like Starling Marte can. Marte is a rare 5-tool player and one of the best two-way players in the Major Leagues. If the Pirates are going to make a run at the National League Central, they need Marte to be the impact player he can be.