Pittsburgh Pirates LF Starling Marte has been ranked third best LF overall by MLB Network’s “The Shredder.”
After listing the Top 10 Players Right Now at second and third base last Sunday, MLB Network released their rankings for left field and starting pitchers Sunday night while we were all recovering from a long, emotional day of football. Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was listed as the third best left fielder Right Now according to “The Shredder”, behind only Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Patrolling the spacious left field area of PNC Park for the majority of his career, Marte has blossomed into a rising star throughout the league both offensively and defensively during the five years he has been with the Pirates. Marte followed up his first Gold Glove season in 2015 with another in 2016 finishing with 17 outfield assists on the season.
On the hitting side of Marte’s game, the 2016 All-Star had career highs in stolen bases (47), batting average (.311), on-base percentage (.362), slugging percentage (.456), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.818). Those career highs came in six less games (129) than his previous best career year in 2014 (135).
The number three ranking is fitting for Marte as he struggled to stay healthy last season with injuries to his back and hand. However, when healthy Marte has proven himself to be among the best in his position as well as one of the best outfielders in the game today.
Higher Ranks From Actual Humans
While Marte topped out at third on the “Shredder” rankings, the rangy left fielder was held in higher regards by the show’s personalities Eric Byrnes and Brian Kenny. Kenny and Byrnes had the fifth year professional ranked first and second respectively.
Marte has continued to develop into one of the best left fielders in the game currently, however, his time in left field could be limited in the near future. With center fielder Andrew McCutchend coming off a season in which he struggled defensively, it would make sense to put Marte in center while moving Gregory Polanco to left field and McCutchen over to right.
Staying healthy will be necessary for Marte to continue his successes at the Major League level in 2017. And while his playing style: i.e. his batting stance being tight to the plate, is conducive to being hit by pitches a ton, it is a style that fits Marte’s game and the danger he creates on the base paths. Should Marte maintain good health for the season, the Pirates could see themselves with a player with over 50 stolen bases and more than 20 outfield assists.
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Image Credit – Daniel Decker Photography