Throughout the week, RotoBaller experts will highlight rising or falling players and provide analysis to help you win your league. This pick, Starling Marte, is at the top of our Waiver Wire Watch List.
Starling Marte, aka the “falling” star. The truth is the only thing that’s falling about Starling Marte is his percent availability in fantasy leagues. Two weeks ago, Marte was 63% owned in CBS Sports leagues, and now he's 79% owned. In Yahoo! leagues Marte saw a similar increase, but he is still only 59% owned. That's just crazy, quite frankly, and it's why we're posting this article.
Marte is on an absolute tear right now. Since starting the season going 2-for-15 through the first four games, he has raised his batting average to .370 and has eight multi-hit performances in his last nine games. Over the last week, he is the #3 ranked player behind the scorching-hot Prince Fielder and Chris Carter.
The Pirates lack pop as a team, but that doesn’t mean that Marte won’t rake in the runs and steal many bases. He's got a very favorable lineup position at the top of the shadily potent Pirates' lineup, in front of Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones and Neil Walker, all solid RBI guys. In fact, Marte's perch atop the order means that as long as he is a productive base stealer and OBP guy, he'll continue to enjoy a the green light on the basepaths. He does get clipped a lot, including getting caught five times last year in seventeen attempts, but he's a young player who can be taught how to steal bases more successfully.
Marte also has some pop of his own. He debuted in July of last year and racked up 5 HR in 47 games, which prorates to 17 dingers over a full season. We don’t necessarily expect him to post that many this season, but 12-15 seems like a realistic ceiling. What's more, Neil Walker (if healthy) and Garrett Jones could surprise a lot of people; Jones did hit 27 HR in 2012, and Walker in 2011 had a stellar season with 76 R and 83 RBI. All things considered, Marte looks like a good bet to continue a high level of performance throughout the year. He should be picked up in all leagues if your outfield is in need of help; if the stars align, Starling should be in line for a sterling season!