The six most-indispensable Pirates for the second half

Joe Robbins

Needless to say this is a subjective ranking, but here is how I rank the six players the Pirates can least afford to lose and why as they push for the playoffs in the second half.

1.) A.J. Burnett: If Wandy Rodriguez weren't out (and in my non-medical opinion it's not unreasonable to think he may miss the rest of the season) I may not have A.J. first. But with the current situation, he heads the list. The Pirates have lost their #2 and #3 (James McDonald) starters and while their depth has paid off in a big way, losing the ace would be a huge blow.

2.) Pedro Alvarez: We've seen over the last month how his bat in the middle of the order is a game-changer. The Pirates don't have anyone close to having that kind of power in their line-up and no obvious replacement at third.

3.) Russell Martin: Neal Huntington's best free agent signing, Martin's defense has been a massive upgrade. His offense has also been a huge plus. If he were to go down, the drop-off to Michael McKenry and Tony Sanchez would be significant.

4.) Francisco Liriano: This is probably going to cause some argument and you could probably put Jeff Locke here just as easily. I chose the hard-throwing Liriano for much the same reason I have AJ up top. If Wandy were healthy he probably wouldn't be on the list, but here he is.

5.) Andrew McCutchen: Another spot likely to create tons of disagreement. Cutch's loss would be devastating, but Starling Marte's emergence would ameliorate it to some degree, their numbers very similar in the first half. This doesn't in anyway suggest Andrew McCutchen isn't the best player on the team--he most-certainly is.

6.) Starling Marte: See Cutch above. A great first-half in his first full season, Marte is a stud.

The most-obvious name left out is probably Jason Grilli. He's been as good as anyone in baseball. But the Pirates bullpen as a whole is so deep and has been so good I think they could survive the loss of any one reliever reasonably well.

Fire away.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bucs Dugout

You must be a member of Bucs Dugout to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Dugout. You should read them.

Join Bucs Dugout

You must be a member of Bucs Dugout to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Dugout. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.