The Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder is currently one of the hottest hitters in the MLB. Take time to appreciate his recent hot stretch.
In 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates called up one of their top outfield prospects by the name of Starling Marte. Marte was highly touted throughout his minor-league career and made an immediate impact when he hit a homer in his very first at-bat against the Houston Astros. From early on it was obvious that Marte had five-tool potential.
However, for all the tools and potential Marte has shown since 2012, fans have still felt like he could be better. Well, Starling Marte has been much better for the Pittsburgh Pirates since May, and especially since the break. He has been one of the hottest hitters is in baseball and continues to play gold glove caliber defense in centerfield.
After hitting .197 in April, Marte returned to form by hitting .298 in May and over .300 every month since. Furthermore, over the last 30 days Marte is hitting a cool .339 while getting on base at a .385 clip and slugging .587. Overall, he is batting .291 with 22 home runs and .830 OPS. Really, in terms of the MLB, Starling Marte is having one of the most under the radar seasons of any outfielder.
While it’s great to see Marte finally reaching his potential, he could be forcing the Pittsburgh Pirates hand this off-season. The club currently has only two years remaining on their centerfielder’s contract, both of which are club option years. His option in 2020 is worth $11.5 million and his option in 2021 is worth $12.5 million. While this is a bargain rate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, his contract could also make him a very attractive trade chip this off-season.
A few weeks ago here at Rum Bunter, we took a look at the free-agent centerfield class. In terms of notable free agents, there really are none. The class is mainly made up of platoon players, defense-first players, and aging veterans. Once again, a team looking to add an impact centerfielder would be smart to check in on Starling Marte.
As mentioned earlier, Marte’s contract is very affordable for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, the fact that they were willing to trade all-star closer Felipe Vasquez shows that the team would be willing to move any of their key players who are on team-friendly. but expiring deals such as Marte. Like Vazquez, if the Pittsburgh Pirates can get the package that they want they may feel they can help the team more by acquiring multiple big league ready prospects.
Let’s face it, Starling Marte is the Pittsburgh Pirates best all-around position player and the Pittsburgh Pirates normally try to sell high on players closing in on free agency. Marte hits for power, can get infield base hits, and plays gold glove caliber defense. While a lot of the Pittsburgh sports media likes to point out when Marte has mental lapses, he has quietly put together one of the best all-around seasons since Andrew McCutchen‘s prime years. With him producing the way he is, and with his team-friendly contract, this very well could be Starling Marte’s last season as a player for the Pittsburgh Pirates.