Outfielder’s departure hurts teams chances for the postseason.
By Steve Samek
The Pirates lost a huge player as Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. http://m.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/225044864/pirates-starling-marte-suspended-80-games/
As a result, Marte is gone for at least the next half of the season and will sit out the playoffs. This also prompted an interesting set of moves. Andrew McCutchen was moved back to centerfield after being moved to right. Then Jose Osuna was called up from Indianapolis to serve as outfield depth. Osuna is a definite call up worthy candidate after being one of the last cuts during the spring. Hit .404 with 5 homers. https://www.milb.com/indy-indians/news/jose-osuna-recalled-to-big-leagues-joins-pirates-in-st-louis/c-225078364/t-196097292
Adam Frazier also should add depth in the outfield as a utility man as will Josh Harrison. Though it will be interesting to see if Josh Bell gets any time in the big-league outfield. Bell was a primary outfielder before being moved to first base. Bell primarily played right field during his times in the minors.
Though if the hole is in center field why not call up Austin Meadows. Meadows being the second-best prospect in the Pirates system should have the fast track to Pittsburgh. Simple answer is he isn’t quite ready yet. Meadows is only facing his first full season at Triple A. Meadows also isn’t dominating like a Tyler Glasnow was. Meadows started the season hitless in 11 at bat before a recent streak as improved his average to .162. https://www.milb.com/milb/news/pittsburgh-pirates-austin-meadows-ignoring-the-hype/c-224790146/t-185364810. Granted it is only a very small 10 games sample. Look for Meadows to improve and maybe knock on the door of Pittsburgh in June like Bell did last year should the need arise. Though the more likely case would be to see Meadows in Pittsburgh in September. http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/pirates-not-likely-call-top-prospect-austin-meadows/#2d7XTpyLFySJEbGl.97
The transition will be tough for the Pirates. It will take McCutchen playing back to form, and consistent production from the rest of the starting lineup to keep this club in contention. Breakout seasons for Frazier and Bell would go a long way to minimize the damage of Marte’s departure.