Starling Marte’s 80-game PED-ban a massive blow for Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates have had their problems early on the season, boasting a losing record 6-9 after 15 games. Last season’s sensation, outfielder Starling Marte was one of the players not exactly performing up to his high standard, but losing the Dominican’s potential for half a season is still a massive blow for Pirates post-season hopes.
However, the Bucs do have adequate outfield cover in Marte’s absence, with Andrew McCutchen moving back to his natural center field and Gregory Polanco, Adam Frazier filling in the flanks. Even so, losing one of the better bats and a terrific outfield player would hurt any team, but is especially harmful for the Pirates who already go without Jung Ho Kang’s production at bat.
After the 15 games now played, Accuscore simulations didn’t have a lot of faith in Pirates post-season chances. With a couple of surprisingly good starts for underdog teams in the National League and more to be expected from divisional rivals Cubs and Cardinals, Pirates were estimated to finish with 78-84 record and 10.4% probability to reach the playoffs.
The effect of Marte’s half-season absence can be measured by Accuscore simulations - and it does not look good for the Bucs. Removing Marte from the roster until his 80-game suspension is served, hinders Pirate’s chances remarkably. Without Marte, they’ll finish the regular season with 74-88 record, missing playoffs with a 95.4% probability.
Pirates would have had only an outside chance to push for post-season with Starling Marte fully functional, but without him it’s almost an impossible mission.