Pittsburgh Pirates: Checking in on the Starling Marte Trade

Let’s take a look back at one of the bigger trades in recent Pittsburgh Pirates history.  The first of many deals that would send away notable veterans.

Nearly 2 years ago the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks made a headline-grabbing deal.  The two sides struck an agreement on a 3 player deal that would send outfielder Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks in exchange for two prospects.  A Marte trade was expected at the time, and it officially kicked off the Pittsburgh Pirates rebuild.  I

Between the two players in the Starling Marte trade, Peguero was considered the headliner going back to the Pirates. Last year, Peguero posted solid numbers at High-A Greensboro. This included a .270/.332/.442 line, 14 long balls, a .338 wOBA, and 108 wRC+. Peguero showed off some solid pop with a .174 isolated slugging. The top 100 prospect did a whole lot of damage in the second half of the season with a .868 OPS and 130 wRC+ from July 25th onward. One thing you have to remember is that Peguero is still only 21-years-old. He was one of the youngest players in his league last year and about three years younger than the average pitcher age.

While Peguero has gotten way more attention than Brennan Malone, don’t sleep on the talented right-hander. Malone was up there with Quinn Priester as the third-best high school arm in the 2019 draft. Being a highly touted prep arm, many teams passed on Malone due to his college commitment to the University of North Carolina.  It took all of the $2.2 million bonus for the Diamondbacks to sign Malone.

So far, the question hasn’t been about his talent, rather it’s been about staying healthy. Last year, Malone threw just 14 innings of very ineffective ball.  Another question mark for Malone has been whether or not he will be able to command his full pitch arsenal.

Unfortunately, we have not really had a chance to see how Malone’s development has come along.  With Covid in 2020 and his blister injury in 2021 he has not had a chance to find consistency on the mound  But if he can stay healthy, Malone has the potential for 4 average or better offerings with a solid command of all pitches.

Both Malone and Peguero are still fairly young. Next year will be his age-21 season. While the Starling Marte trade was the first of many, it may be the longest in terms of waiting to see what these prospects will give the Organization.