Starling Marte Is Providing Pittsburgh Pirates With Great News


The production from the Pittsburgh Pirates corner outfielders in 2012 was hideous.  When Starling Marte arrived on the scene in Houston for his debut, the Bucs were getting well below average production from their left fielders.   The triple slash looked like a misprint, but it wasn’t: the .195/.242/.317 line was just brutal to look at and worse to watch in the batters box.

Marte destroyed Grapefruit League pitching in spring training and some thought he should have been given a shot in the bigs to begin the 2012 season.   The Pirates wisely thought differently in terms of Marte’s development while failing miserably to get much of anything from their corner outfielders.

Yet on the backs of stellar pitching, the Pirates were somehow in a playoff race.   On July 26, the Bucs had seen enough of Marte in Triple-A where he posted a .286/.347/.500 line.  The 23-year old had crushed a career-high 12 home runs and added 21 doubles and 13 triples.

The bomb Marte hit in his first at-bat was a magical, goose-bumper that electrified the Pirates bench.   The kid had arrived.

But although his production was an upgrade, he looked like a rookie during a number of his plate appearances.   No real surprise.  However, by seasons end Marte wasn’t getting much playing time for some unknown reason and he finished the season with a boring .257/.300/.437 line.   The monster spring training numbers were something that everyone knew were not sustainable, but it appears Marte is back to his old self in the Dominican this offseason.

The big numbers from Marte’s small sample size production have come in crucial situations.  The Bucco outfielder with the cannon arm is showing what he can do with his bat and giving Bucco fans plenty to look foward .  With runners in scoring position, Marte has 13 hits and a 1.099 OPS and with runners on base, Marte has been even better with 20 hits and a monster 1.231 OPS.

Marte is hitting left handers and right handers this winter.  Against southpaws he has six hits in 19 at-bats and his OBP is .381, he is slugging .570 and his OPS is .960.  One footnote is that Marte has struckout seven times in those 19 at-bats.

Against right handers, the numbers are strong with an OBP of .402, his slugging is .446 and OPS is .889.   SSS ALERT:  His 17 percent strikeout percentage still sticks out a bit though, but he has spread them around recently other than a three strikeout day on November 30.

The highlights for Marte are notable as he is among the top five or top ten in numerous offensive catergories:

Marte is fifth with an on base plus slugging of .902.

Marte is seventh in on base percentage with a .402 mark after 27 games.

Marte is fifth in slugging at a .500 mark.

The swift Marte has eight stolen bases in nine attempts which ties him for third.

Marte is fifth in average with 34 hits adding up to a .327 BA.

Marte had eleven walks in the first 17 games, after 27 games he now has twelve.  But during those last ten games he has put his bat to good use with fourteen hits including two doubles, three triples and a .909 OPS.

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It’s hard to imagine the Bucs with a corner outfielder providing production both offensively and defensively, that hasn’t happened in a while.  It’s good to see Marte raking at the plate again, he needs to carry it over to the major league level now in 2013.  Then we can all #MarteParty

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