By Zack Zeigler
Every year, Sporting News releases its All-Star teams featuring the best players from each league including all nine position players, a starting pitcher, and a closer. The National League All-Star team was released in late October and the Pittsburgh Pirates got some good news along with the announcement.
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was named to the Sporting News All-Star team for the first time in his major league career. Marte had a career year for the Pirates setting a career best in average and keeping up the run production while in the middle of the Pirates order.
Marte finished the year hitting .311 with nine home runs and 46 RBI. Marte also added 104 strikeouts and 23 walks while stealing a career high 46 bases.
Marte’s 46 RBI in 2016 are second in his career behind his 2014 season when he drove in 56 runs. His home run numbers were down from a year ago as he only hit nine home runs, but he was able to get on base more this year then in any other season.
While being able to drive in runs at a high rate, Marte also upped his speed on the base paths as he stole a career high 47 stolen bases in 59 attempts, which was also good to lead the Pirates team.
Marte turned up his defensive play in 2015 winning both the Gold Glove award and the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. He continued his solid defensive play in 2016, winning his second straight Gold Glove.
Marte finished the year with a .982 fielding percentage, four errors in 217 total chances. In his early career, Marte showed some lackadaisical tendencies and let some balls that he could get to that other cannot.
His arm, or should I say cannon, is another perk of Marte in left field. Marte had a total of 222 put outs in 2016 including 17 assists. Marte has saved the Pirates many runs throughout his career as his WAR sits at 19.25 for his career. In 2016 alone, his WAR sat as high as 4.96.
For his efforts in the 2016 season, Starling Marte was named to his second straight MLB All-Star game and played in centerfield where he was one for one at the plate. He adds his first ever Sporting News All-Star game with the selection today.
The other players that made the team include:
Giants catcher Buster Posey
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy
Dodgers short stop Corey Seager
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant
Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes
Nationals starter Max Scherzer
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen
Marte had a career year in 2016, and he will be asked to do it again in the 2017 season as the Pirates look to make it back to the playoffs.