Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading the 2013 outfielders

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The Pittsburgh Pirates had some weak spots in their batting order during the 2013 season, but the outfield certainly wasn’t one of them.

Not too many teams can boast a lineup of a potential MVP in center in Andrew McCutchen and a future superstar in Starling Marte.

Sep 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (left), left fielder Starling Marte (center), and Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Marlon Byrd (right) celebrate after the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Once they added Marlon Byrd to the mix in August, the Pirates boasted a dangerous outfield that had plenty of speed, could hit for average, hit for power and drive in plenty of runs.

While there are some questions on this team going forward, the outfield is not as it will be interesting to see how good these guys can get, especially if Gregory Polanco is added to the mix soon.

With that being said, let’s take a look at how the Pirates outfielders graded out during the 2013 season.

Starling Marte- .280 AVG/ .343 OBP/ .441 SLG/ 12 HR, 35 RBI, 41 SB

In his first full season in the majors, we saw a lot to like about the young Marte. While maybe not the traditional leadoff hitter that many would like, Marte did a solid job of getting on base for most of the season.

When Marte was going good, the Pirates offense was at its best as he served the role of table setter for the likes of Andrew McCutchen and others. However, when he slumped the entire offense suffered, similar to what happened in the postseason.

Overall though Marte had a solid year with the bat and added some pop to the top of the lineup, bring a .784 OPS to the table out of the leadoff spot.

On the negative side is Marte’s pitch recognition and inability to draw walks. He chases way too many pitches and was hit by pitches more times than he drew free passes. Those are two areas that must improve beginning next season.

But Marte offset those weaknesses with outstanding defense in left field and became very dangerous swiping bags. It will be interesting to see how he progresses. Grade: B

Andrew McCutchen- .317 AVG/ .404 OBP/ .508 SLG, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 27 SB

There’s really not much to say about the year McCutchen had except that it should culminate with a National League MVP Award.

He was outstanding in every facet of the game and really put together a solid six months, improving as a defender and base runner along the way.

Cutch led the team with an OPS of .825 and finished fourth in all of baseball (third among position players) with a WAR of 8.2.

Hopefully this isn’t the best we have seen of McCutchen as it will be fun to continue to watch him grow. Grade: A

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