4.) Continued growth for Polanco and Marte
Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte will be stars in this league, and are on the cusp of truly breaking through to the next level (if Marte is not already a star, he’s about as close as you can possibly be). The 2015 season was Marte’s best yet. He had another 30-steal season, and upped his run production. It’s a little troubling that the free-swinger saw his walk total drop by six while playing 18 more games than in 2014. Marte needs to see that number heading in the opposite direction. With a little bit more refinement at the plate, it’s not hard to project the 27-year-old leftfielder to 30-30 status.
Polanco’s career arc is following a similar path to Marte’s his first few years in the league. Polanco showed a good eye, drawing 55 walks in his first full season. His average and power will start ticking up as he gets more familiar with big league pitching. Polanco is still only 24 years old. As with Marte, the speed is there. Polanco stole 27 bases this year and was gunned out only 10 times. Again, 30-30 potential seems to be there for the 6’5″ rightfielder. The Pirates need Polanco to start harnessing the power that his 230-pound frame holds.