5 Pittsburgh Pirates Players Who are Irreplaceable
The Pittsburgh Pirates are having a rough season so far, with a poor 21-26 record in 2014. For this reason, they don't have many players who can be considered tough to replace, but they certainly have a few who they can't afford to lose for an extended period of time. If the Pirates are going to get back in the playoff race, these five players need to play well and stay healthy.
Obviously, replacing the reigning MVP would be impossible. Offensively, Andrew McCutchen is having the best season of his career, hitting .312/.433/.476 with a 159 wRC+. He is walking in a career-high 17.1 percent of his plate appearances, while striking out in just 16.2 percent.
The Pirates' rotation has struggled this season, and Gerrit Cole has been the only decent option for most of the 2014 campaign so far. In 58.2 innings, Cole has a 3.84 ERA while racking up 8.13 K/9. He is the leader of the Pirates' pitching staff and they can't afford for him to not perform well or to get injured.
Pedro Alvarez is having the best season of his career in terms of plate discipline, walking in 11.2 percent of his trips to the plate and striking out in by far a career-best 21.8 percent. He's hitting just .213/.305/.379, but he has nine homers and 27 RBI in 197 plate appearances. If Alvarez gets hurt, the Pirates don't have an adequate option to replace him at third base.
We've seen what losing Russell Martin does to the Pirates. He was on the DL for the majority of May and the Pirates' catchers struggled mightily defensively. He hits fairly well for a catcher, too, with a .246/.351/.369 line.
Starling Marte has struggled with the bat for most of the 2014 season, but his defense and base-running are far too valuable for the Pirates to lose. He is hitting just .257/.319/.400 this year in 191 plate appearances while playing great defense for the Pirates in the large left field at PNC Park.