For years now Starling Marte has been seen as the best Pirates’s prospect. His potential is through the roof, and now he is finally showcasing his skill at the Major League level. Last season there was much speculation that he was possible trade bait and could be shipped off for a proven talent such as Justin Upton. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and he stayed right here where he belonged.
Marte was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Pirates in 2007, and up until 2010 he never cracked the minor league system. Then finally in 2010, he started playing for the Buccos Class A team; the Bradenton Marauders. In 60 games, he batted .316 and that is where his potential first came to fruition. The following year he represented the Pirates in the Futures Game, and won all types of awards such as the Eastern League’s Rookie of the Year.
Coming into the 2012 season, Marte was ranked as the 73rd best prospect in all of baseball. In the 2012 season he was promoted from AAA to the big league team on July 26th. That same day he made his Major League debut against the Houston Astros. In his first at-bat, on the first pitch he saw as a big leaguer, he hit a booming homerun. Marte went on to play in 47 games for the Buccos that season, and he batted .257 with five homers, 17 runs batted in and six triples.
Over the winter, Marte went home to the Dominican to play in their winter league. While he was down there he hit .304 in the regular season. That doesn’t even compare to the .422 that he hit in the postseason that included four homers.
When Spring Training opened for the Pirates it was a forgone conclusion that Marte would be the starter in left field. His performance at the plate and in the field last year showed that he belonged at the big league level. He was also notched into the leadoff spot, which some fans weren’t in love with, but the Pirates really had no other option.
Now that move makes Manager Clint Hurdle look like a genius. Marte is batting .382 this season with one homerun and eight RBI’s. He has gotten a hit in every game since April 5th against the Dodgers, and all but one of those games have been multi-hit games. That one home run was very instrumental in the Pirates’ sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. In that game the Pirates were down five runs and managed to come all the way back to win 10-7 and finish off the sweep. So far this season, Marte has easily been the best all around player for the team, yes even ahead of Andrew McCutchen. Marte is hitting everything that he sees, and what he sees seems to be a beach ball when he’s at the plate.
He’s doing exactly what you want your leadoff hitter to do, get on base. Not only is he getting on base, but he’s being more selective at the plate as well. I’ve noticed quite a few times this year that he’s reading the pitch and going with it. When that ball is on the outer half of the plate he has not problem slapping it the other way for an easy base hit. I know it’s early in the season, but at this point Marte is by far the best player on the team, and he has had a lot to do with their success.
Photo Credits: Yahoo! Sports