Fantasy value of Pirates lineup 

August, 19, 2014

Pedro AlvarezMichael Zagaris/Getty ImagesCan a move to first base help Pedro Alvarez's slumping offense?
The Pittsburgh Pirates enter Tuesday having lost six games in a row, but don't worry, center fielder Andrew McCutchen is scheduled to return to save the day! The defending NL MVP has apparently recovered from his rib injury and Tuesday is the first day he's eligible for activation. McCutchen is having another MVP season really, is easily the team's signature player, and the Pirates obviously need him. Fantasy owners obviously need him. But what about the other Pirates hitters, what are they bringing to the table?

Flanking McCutchen are speedy defenders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, each owned in 100 percent of ESPN standard leagues, but each a tad flawed. Marte homered twice in Monday's 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves, but that brings his season total to just eight. He is not much of a power hitter, and while he's raised his grisly walk rate a tad since 2013, he's not running as much, either. Marte is worth owning but I actually moved him in a keeper format, because it's tough to see much statistical upside from last year. He isn't quite a top-30 outfielder this year.