The Pirates are shaking things up in the outfield this season, according to a team announcement that was made on Sunday. With the new alignment, Andrew McCutchen will vacate center field to take over in right, Gregory Polanco will switch from right to left field, and Starling Marte will move from left to center field.
Marte alluded to the change on Saturday, telling MLB Dominicana that he had officially made the switch to center field for the 2017 season. Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle issued the following quote in response:
McCutchen, 30, saw a sharp decline in his defensive skills during the 2016 season, delivering a career-worst -28 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a -18.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) that contrasted negatively with the -8 DRS and -6.1 UZR he posted in 2015.
Polanco and Marte, meanwhile, produced more palatable numbers in 2016 despite suffering through multiple stints on the disabled list. Polanco posted two DRS and a 6.2 UZR from right field, while Marte earned Gold Glove honors in left field after turning in 17 DRS and a 6.2 UZR to complement an impressive offensive performance.