Just heard from a source that OF prospect Starling Marte will join the #pirates in Houston.
— Kristy Robinson (@Kristy_Robinson) July 25, 2012
That is the news that a lot of people were looking for over the past month and finally the day when he is in the big leagues will be here for the series with the Astros. Clint Hurdle said earlier in the year that when Marte gets called up he is going to be getting regular playing time so expect to see Marte alongside Andrew McCutchen in the outfield to be joined with someone else who isn't very good at playing the outfield.
Here is a brief look at Marte's trip through the minor league system:
|FRk (2 seasons)||FRk||110||449||389||80||105||14||3||10||55||36||10||26||82||.270||.346||.398||.745||155|
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||10||35||33||7||9||3||0||2||5||4||1||1||7||.273||.314||.545||.860||18|
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||61||255||224||41||72||16||5||0||34||22||8||12||59||.321||.391||.438||.829||98|
|A (1 season)||A||54||247||221||41||69||9||5||3||34||24||7||12||55||.312||.377||.439||.815||97|
|AA (1 season)||AA||129||572||536||91||178||38||8||12||50||24||12||22||100||.332||.370||.500||.870||268|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||98||427||384||64||110||20||13||12||61||21||12||28||90||.286||.348||.500||.848||192|
It will be nice to finally see someone else in the outfield besides McCutchen who can play the position as Garrett Jones, Alex Presley and Drew Sutton have been manning left field and right field for much of the past month.
So far this year in AAA Marte is hitting for a .286/.348/.500 in 427 plate appearances which included 20 doubles, 13 triples and 12 home runs. Marte also struck out 90 times while walking 28 times. That has been the biggest complaint of Marte's game is that he is too much of a free swinger and he is going to strike out a lot and not take many walks. While this is still true with only 6.6% walk rate and a 21.1% strikeout rate. The walk rate is actually a pretty significant improvement over last season when it was just south of 4% in AA but his ISO and power numbers took a pretty big jump. When Marte was in AA he won the batting title last year and has regressed some since being in AAA but that is sort of to be expected and also a reason I am not sure if Marte is ready.
Make no mistake that I am excited as hell to see Marte play tomorrow but there are still some questions in his development. He has been a really streaky hitter this season where he will go off for two weeks and tear the cover off the ball and then go a couple weeks where he is striking out in half of his at bats. I don't think there is a clear indicator of when a player is ready but I think I would have liked him to stay in AAA a little longer to work out some more kinks. I understand that I am in the small minority in this situation but it is what it is.
I think the big thing to keep in mind is not expect Marte to really turn the offense around or take it to a whole different level. While he is a great prospect this is his first trip to the big leagues and he only has just over 400 plate appearances over AA. It will be interesting watching him develop and I am pretty excited to see him play in the outfield every day.