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Wilson names Marte top defensive left fielder

Rocket-armed outfielder win statistics-based honor

PITTSBURGH -- A day after winning his first National League Gold Glove Award, Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was again recognized for his stingy defense and rocket right arm.

Marte received the 2015 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award in left field, an honor given annually to the top defender in the Majors at each position. The winners, announced Wednesday on MLB Network, are determined using a formula that factors in both traditional defensive statistics and advanced metrics along with data from the scouting service Inside Edge.

2015 Awards coverage

No matter which way you look at it, Marte was one of the best defensive players in baseball last season.

Marte finished third among all Major League players with 24 defensive runs saved, behind only Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons. No other left fielder in the Majors recorded more than 15 runs saved.

Marte rewarded for defensive excellence with Rawlings Gold Glove

Marte also ranked second among all qualified left fielders with a .995 fielding percentage, making only one error in 1,186 1/3 innings in left. The Yankees' Brett Gardner put together a perfect fielding percentage.

Marte's range and ability to track down fly balls don't come as a surprise, considering his athleticism. He would be a gifted defensive center fielder, but he plays left because the Pirates have Andrew McCutchen entrenched in center.

What truly set Marte apart this year was his arm. He relentlessly threw out opposing baserunners all season and finished with 16 outfield assists, tied for the second-highest total in the Majors behind White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia.

Marte is the third Pirate to win a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. McCutchen was named the NL's top center fielder in 2012, and Russell Martin was recognized as the league's best defensive catcher in '13.

Last year, Wilson began recognizing one overall winner at each position rather than splitting them up by league. Martin was honored as the Majors' top catcher last season.

This is Marte's third major defensive honor of the offseason. In addition to this award and the Gold Glove he received Tuesday night, Marte was named the 2015 Fielding Bible Award winner in left field.

Marte's defensive accolades further underscore his value to the Pirates. Last season, the 27-year-old hit .287/.337/.444 while crushing 19 homers, driving in 81 runs and stealing 30 bases.

Taking into account his contributions at the plate, on the bases and in the field, Marte was worth a team-leading 5.4 Wins Above Replacement last season, according to Baseball-Reference.

"If you want five tools -- speed, arm strength, hitting, hitting for power and defensive ability -- he hits all five. This is a potential MVP in this league for me, because he's a game-changer in three different categories," Pirates third-base coach Rick Sofield said. "He can change the game at home plate. He can change the game on the bases, for sure. And as you have seen, he changes games on defense."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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