Pirates, fantasy owners scrambling in wake of Starling Marte suspension

Stunning news from the MLB commissioner’s office on Tuesday with the announcement that Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

After the initial shock wears off, fantasy owners will have to find a way to replace one of the top stolen base threats in the majors. Marte hit .311 last season and in just 129 games swiped 47 bases. Only Jonathan Villar and Billy Hamilton stole more.

This season, Marte was off to a relatively slow start, hitting .241 with a pair of homers and two steals in four attempts.

Impact on the Pirates

The Pittsburgh front office made a major decision this offseason to move the two-time Gold Glover to center field and bump veteran Andrew McCutchen, whose defense declined significantly according to advanced metrics, to right field.

With Marte out, McCutchen seems to be the leading candidate to take over in center field. Obviously, losing someone as skilled as Marte in center and replacing him…

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