Pittsburgh Pirates Starling Marte: Reason to Believe in 2013
Starling Marte is a player Pirates fans are going to be excited to watch in 2013.
Starling Marte has never been one to shy away from collecting his fair share of hardware throughout the years. It started early in his career in 2008 when he earned the MVP of the Dominican Summer League DSL Pirates.
Marte was the Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2011 and continued grabbing honors at the highest level in the minors when he was named a Triple-A post season All-Star along with being a mid-season All Star in 2012. The list of honors Marte has won is long and we grabbed it off the Pirates website and attached it below.
Yesterday, the Pirates tweeted that Marte was named MVP as Escogido swept the Manny Ramirez led Aguilas in the Dominican Republic Series Final. Marte was a beast in the post-season and throughout the winter season continued to display power–perhaps his left hamate bone, which was fractured in 2010 is completley healed.
Marte batted in the third spot in the order in the final game and had two hits including a double.
In the series, Marte had eleven hits, chalking up at least two in each game. Pirates left-hander Kris Johnson got the victory, and Octavio Dotel got the hold. (We wonder if they play Dotels entrance music in the DR?) Johnson completed a strong winter season with 50 strikeouts against just 13 walks.
MILB.COM ORGANIZATION ALL-STAR
INT POST-SEASON ALL-STAR
INT MID-SEASON ALL-STAR
INT PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TOPPS DOUBLE-A ALL-STAR
BASEBALL AMERICA DOUBLE-A ALL-STAR
EAS POST-SEASON ALL-STAR
EAS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
EAS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
EAS MID-SEASON ALL-STAR
FUTURES GAME SELECTION
The strong finish to Marte’s winter season has me a bit excited about the possible production from a Pirates outfielder not named McCutchen.
As you recall the numbers produced by the Bucs corner outfielder in 2012 was pathetic. When 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 brutal.
It was worse to watch as left fielder after left fielder stunk it up in the batters box each night.
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.
While his production slipped as the season wore on, Marte was still an upgrade. It was hard not to be. Of course, the strikeout percentage was poor and the walks were rare.
By seasons end his playing time had diminished, maybe it was all that time spent hanging out with Jose Tabata? Who knows, but there is one thing I am fairly certain about.
Starling Marte will be even better in 2013. He’s already off to a great start.