2011 Top Pirates Prospects: #2 – Starling Marte

The Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide was released last week, featuring 237 prospect reports, interviews with Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Zack Dodson, the 2011 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, the top ten prospects will be released on the site.

Be sure to purchase your copy of the book by clicking “Buy Now” at the bottom of this page (or to the right).

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Colton Cain
9. Zack Von Rosenberg
8. Jeff Locke
7. Rudy Owens
6. Bryan Morris
5. Luis Heredia
4. Stetson Allie
3. Tony Sanchez

We continue the countdown with the number two prospect, Starling Marte.

2. Starling Marte, OF

Marte could be the best international prospect developed by the Pirates since Aramis Ramirez.

Marte signed with the Pirates in 2007 out of the Dominican Republic, signing for $85,000. He has a strong season in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, then took an aggressive leap to West Virginia in the middle of the 2009 season, where he put up good numbers considering the jump he made.

Marte continued his success in 2010, with strong numbers all around in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. He had his season shortened after a pitch hit him in the hand, causing him to have the hook of his hamate bone removed. Starling returned at the end of the season, but the injury should affect his power production for at least a year.

The Pirates haven’t fully developed a strong international prospect since Aramis Ramirez, but Marte could break that streak. He is a five tool talent, profiling best as a center fielder with an above-average arm, and plus-plus speed. He could end up playing LF in Pittsburgh with Andrew McCutchen in CF. The downside for Marte is his lack of power and plate discipline. He hits for extra bases, but lacks home run power, and the hamate injury won’t help that in the short term. There are concerns that Marte won’t hit for average in the upper levels unless he improves these two areas. He is expected to start the 2011 season in Altoona at the age of 22, and could be in the majors by June 2012, giving him some time to work on these two issues.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    Marte at #2 might be a little high for me

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FOIIVC2TCYV3EMULLBJDHIEJUU Matt Juszczak

    I’ve read in different places that his defense may be even better than McCutchen’s eventually. Any chance McCutchen moves to LF and Marte takes of CF either in his rookie or sophomore year?

  • http://twitter.com/micahscheindlin Micah Scheindlin

    I’m curious- will you write another post after the top 10 justifying the places held by certain players? I think your rating of Marte at #2 is justifiable, but it’s certainly not the norm. Your case for Starling over Sanchez, Allie, Heredia would be well-worth reading.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      There will be a chat next week discussing the top 10, and the book, for those who have ordered the book. I’ll have something up tomorrow to allow early questions to be submitted.