The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten key contributions from a variety of young players over the last two seasons, making it to the playoffs both years.  

While these players have had solid seasons, they have not nearly reached their potential.  In 2015, however, that could be a different story. 

Let’s take a look at three players who could have breakout seasons next year for the Pirates.  


Starling Marte, Left Field

In 2007 and at the age of 19, Starling Marte was drafted by the Pirates as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

Marte made his major league debut in 2012, batting .257 with five home runs and 17 RBI in just 47 games for the Pirates.  

A year later, he played in 135 games, batting .280 with 12 home runs and helping his team make it back to the postseason for the first time since 1992.  

This past season, his numbers continued to increase, as he batted .291 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 135 games.  

There is no question that Marte will be the starting left fielder heading into the 2015 regular season, but Marte still has not had the type of season he is capable of.  

Given the fact that his numbers continue to climb season by season, one would have to believe that Marte is primed for a big season in 2015.  It would not be surprising to see Marte hit between 16-20 home runs and drive in 70-85 runs, which the Pirates would gladly take.  


Gregory Polanco, Right Field

This is more of a long shot than the prediction about Marte, as Gregory Polanco still has a player in front of him on the Pirates depth chart in Travis Snider.  

Still, if he has a solid spring training, there is no reason Polanco should not go into the regular season patrolling right field for the Pirates.  After all, he was rated the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates’ farm system by Baseball America heading into last season.

Polanco played in 89 games for the Pirates in 2014, blasting seven home runs and collecting 33 RBI in 277 at-bats.  Polanco is capable of hitting for an average much higher than .235, which he showed toward the end of the regular season and when he first came up in June, hitting .288 that month.  

Could Polanco have a breakout season in 2015?  Absolutely, but he would have to be given the opportunity to start the majority of the games for the Pirates in right field.  


Francisco Cervelli, Catcher

In the seven seasons he has spent in the big leagues, Francisco Cervelli has served primarily as a backup catcher for the New York Yankees.  

That could have all changed for him, however, when he was traded by the Yankees to the Pirates in November.  

The Pirates knew they would not be able to bring back catcher Russell Martin as he was seeking a deal too expensive, so the organization went out and acquired a good catcher with potential in Cervelli.  

There are many teams in the majors that Cervelli could have been a legitimate starter on throughout the last seven seasons.  To his misfortune, he was a member of a team that already had a franchise catcher (first Jorge Posada, then Martin and finally Brian McCann last season).  

In 250 career games, Cervelli owns a batting average of .278 and a .348 on-base percentage, which are both very respectable averages for a catcher.  

He played in a career-high 93 games in 2010 for the Yankees, batting .271 with 38 RBI.  Last season, he batted .301 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 146 at-bats.  

It looks as if Cervelli will finally be given the opportunity to serve as the primary catcher for a big league team in 2015, and given his success in short bodies of work each season, he could be the next Pirates player to have a breakout season in 2015.  


Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference

Read more MLB news on