'Dream Outfield' intent on running down every ball
McCutchen, Marte, Polanco are three speediest Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- During a lively question-and-answer session with fans on the opening day of PirateFest, one of the most engaging questions heard from the floor concerned the fastest player on the Buccos.
The two dozen players and coaches seated on the main stage of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center all took turns making nominations. Andrew McCutchen got a lot of votes, as did Gregory Polanco, and the straw-poll winner was Starling Marte.
The rub: All three are in the Pirates' outfield. Now you begin to understand the "Dream Outfield" stamp.
"They are all the fastest, judging by my mistakes they keep running down," left-hander Jeff Locke said.
"We've got to have one of the fastest outfields around," hitting coach Jeff Branson said.
"If we concentrate and work together, we're going to be very good," said Marte.
"People hitting the ball that way, they have no chance," Marte said with a grin.
One of manager Clint Hurdle's objectives for the coming season is more aggressive baserunning -- by everyone. However, the trio of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco could spectacularly answer that call.
If you're searching for areas where the Bucs can improve, that might be the first place to look: In 2014, the trio combined for 62 stolen bases, but their legs have so much more in them.