The Pittsburgh Pirates are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 1992. Even though this is a very good Pirates’ team, their offense has been one of the worst in the league. Pitching has obviously carried this team thus far, and that has started to fall off a bit lately. A major reason for the pitching falling off is that the majority of the pitching staff is young or was pitching better than their advanced statistics indicated, meaning they were lucky.
One thing the Pirates couldn’t afford to have was an injury. Well, an injury occurred a few days ago to Starling Marte and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday night. This isn’t an injury to an average player that the Pirates won’t miss; this is Marte. This is possibly the best defensive left fielder in all of MLB, and this is a guy with a 4.3 WAR according to FanGraphs. Other than Andrew McCutchen, this is the worst injury that could have happened to the Pirates.
Jose Tabata is going to be filling in for Marte at the leadoff spot in the lineup and in left field while Andrew Lambo will play right field where Tabata was playing before Marte’s injury. Tabata has actually been very hot lately, batting nearly .300 since the trade deadline. On the season, his .274/.347/.410 slash line isn’t terrible, but it’s not as good as Marte’s .282/.343/.443 line. The Pirates aren’t just losing a dynamic leadoff hitter; they are losing a terrific defensive player and a player that creates havoc on the bases. If the Pirates want to win the National League Central division, they need Marte back as soon as possible.