Starling Marte Named Second Best Left Fielder in Baseball

On Sunday afternoon, Buster Olney continued his series of the best players in the majors at each position. Today’s postion is left field and he named Starling Marte the second best in the majors (subscription required). Last year, Olney named Marte the best left fielder in baseball. This past season, he hit .311/.362/.456 over 129 game and also won his second consecutive Gold Glove award. The .818 OPS he posted was the best of his career. The top spot this year went to Yoenis Cespedes.

Olney compliments Marte by saying he “provides the greatest range of skills of anyone who plays this spot in the big leagues”. Cespedes got the nod for the top spot due to his advantage in the power department, but Marte has the clear advantage in defense.

The Pittsburgh Pirates came up empty in the early rankings by Olney. Earlier this week, he covered starting pitchers, relievers and all four infield spots. No Pirates made the top ten in any of the six categories and only Josh Harrison was named in the “honorable mention” group, which adds another 5-7 names for each position. The Pirates should get some more mentions in the next couple days as Olney covers center field and right field next, followed by catchers. Those three spots will be followed by the best starting rotations, bullpens, lineups and defenses, with one rankings article per day over the next seven days.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 8, 2017 10:34 pm

    I would like to know who was ranked ahead of Marte, because his defense in LF is simply outstanding.

    I’m not surprised that the Pirates didn’t place in any of the infield or pitching lists. Anyone who truly believes that this team is just a Quintana away from contending is delusional. To trade 2 to 3 of their top 5 prospects to get him would be a big mistake in my opinion. What will make this team a contender is if this team continues the trend it was forced to begin last July….trusting and using their biggest strength…their farm system. A new GM would be nice too….

    • First paragraph, last two words…

    • Ok super confused by your statement saying “trust the farm system” then stating “a new GM would be nice too”. Don’t they go hand in hand? Neal built the farm system so why would we get rid of him if you state our biggest strength is the farm?

  • I initially thought Kang’s got ripped off. But then I saw he was 18th in WAR. I thought he hit well enough to make up for the missing at bats but 3B is pretty loaded.

    • Exactly, there’s just a ton of really good 3B in the game right now.

      A healthy Kang might sneak into the back end of the Top 10, but there’s no shame in missing the list all together at a position where the 7th most valuable player still put up 5 WAR last year.

      • And with so much impact talent reaching the Majors on the left side of the infield lately, that’s not likely to change. Short stop also became suddenly very deep this season, with 6 4.7+ WAR producers, and Story was on that sort of pace, too, before he got knocked out for the season.

        The left side of the infield is suddenly loaded with talent.

  • I’m not saying it will happen but there is still time for a breakout year from Jordy.
    This guy has a strong defensive ability and maybe this is the year the bat finds consistency as well. He showed offensive ability throughout his minors career so it is possible.

    • I like Jordy…there’s nothing overly impressive about him…but he plays a key position and doesn’t stink. He’s a nice plug-and-play guy…you put him in the line-up and forget about him.

      But he’s 30….he never really impressed in the minors and he’s been “meh” for his 4+ seasons in the majors. I think we’ve seen the real Jordy Mercer.

      That said, MLBTR is reporting that he and the Pirates are discussing an extension. I’d like to see the team keep him around…he seems to be one of those ‘veteran presence’ kinda guys…I think he’d make a good middle-infield mentor.

      • I assume they’re talking extension with him so he can be the Barmes to Newman’s Jordy the next few years. He’s a passable starter; he’d be a very useful bench piece.

  • If Kang is able to put up a full season of above average defense with a slash line of .270/.350/.450 than he’s a Top 10 3rd baseman in my book

    • The thing holding him back is his off field issues IMO

      • Off field issues shouldn’t have anything to do with it as long as he is playing. Kang, due to his hitting ability, is definitely among the best ten third basemen. Just my opinion.

        • PittsburghKid
          January 8, 2017 7:35 pm

          What I meant is that with all the issues keeping off the field he won’t have the opportunity to become what he could

      • That and getting cheap shotted by Coughlin!

  • No surprise on the IFers….But…….JHAY “Honorable mention”? THAT was surprising.

    • He has put up a 1.8 WAR (Baseball-Reference) each of the last two years and obviously had a big season in 2014, so it shouldn’t be a surprise he is somewhere in the 11-17 range among second baseman. Sounds like a few of the others just missed the top ten, while Harrison got the same one sentence treatment that Neil Walker got with his poor defense and major back injury, so they probably rank in that 15-17 range.

      • Without the injury last year, he probably produces average value. I think he’s sitting at his floor right now as a league average player, and, as you indicate, that’s more valuable that people give credit for.

        A full healthy season, he’ll be a fine player to have in the starting lineup, especially if he boosts his hitting *at all.*

    • Starling Marte is well deserving of the honor. I hope the power returns next year, because we need that power bat in the middle of the order.

      Ranking 15-17 is not very surprising or impressive in that there were only 20 “Qualified” 2B offensively, and 21 defensively. That said, he has not been anywhere near his 2014 performance in 2015 or 2016, and he is owed $18 mil over the next two seasons. I saw a rumor that the Yankees were interested in him – I think he would look a lot better in pin stripes.