Team MVP – Starling Marte
Make no mistake about it, this is Starling Marte‘s team. He is the team’s longest tenured player, as well as their best player. When he is healthy and playing to his max capability, Marte can be one of the best two-way players in the National League. In order to reach the postseason in 2019, the Pirates need get the best version of Marte.
Marte missed 80-games due to a PED suspension in 2017. This is a big reason why the 2017 Pirates finished below .500. Marte played in 145 games in 2018, the most he had played in since playing 154 games in 2015. It’s not a coincidence that 2018 was the team’s first winning season since 2015.
In 2018 Marte bounced back from his tumultuous 2017 season by slashing .277/.327/.460 with a 113 wRC+ and a 3.7 fWAR. He also posted a 5.2 dWAR in his first full season manning center field.
Since the start of the 2013 season Marte owns a 20.8 fWAR, which is 17th best in the National League. Had he not missed half the 2017 season, when he posted a 1.7 fWAR, due to suspension, he would be in the top-15, if not the top-10 of the NL in fWAR the past six seasons. Throw in Marte being former All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and he has quietly become one of the best players in the NL.
Marte needs to be the Pirates leader in 2019. He needs to lead in the clubhouse, at the plate, and in the field. Marte knows he has the responsibility of leading this team in 2019, and he will rise to the occasion and be the team’s best player.