Five Pittsburgh Pirates Players That Need To Step Up In 2019
Center fielder Starling Marte
To some extent putting Starling Marte on this list might be a bit unfair. When he is healthy, and not suspended, Marte is one of the best two-way players in the NL. He is a former All-Star, a multiple time Gold Glove Award winner, and last year become the Pirates’ first 20/30 player since Barry Bonds.
All of that said, the Pirates need the best Marte in 2019 to return to the postseason.
Marte is now the team’s longest tenured player. Entering his eighth season with the club, the 30-year-old Marte will have a lot of his shoulders.
Since the start of the 2013 season Marte’s 20.9 fWAR ranks 15th best in the NL. This is a number that would be even higher had he not missed half of the 2017 season due to a P.E.D. related suspension. Last year, Marte bounced back from suspension with a 3.7 fWAR season.
Marte’s overall numbers in 2018 were strong. He slashed .277/.327/.460 to go with a .337 wOBA and a 113 wRC+. As you read above, he also became the first Pirate in over 25 years to hit at least 20 home runs while stealing at least 30 bases in the same season.
In order for team’s to make the postseason, their best players must play at the highest level that they can. This is what the Pirates will need from Marte this season.