Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Top Prospects: #3 – Starling Marte

The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide is now available, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top ten prospects over the next week.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Nick Kingham

9. Kyle McPherson

8. Stetson Allie

7. Tony Sanchez

6. Robbie Grossman

5. Luis Heredia

4. Josh Bell

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

Starling Marte hit for a .332 average with 12 homers in 2011.

3. Starling Marte, OF

There were a lot of questions surrounding Marte heading in to the 2011 season. We had him as our number two overall prospect last year, but a lot of people had concerns over his plate patience and his lack of power. He answered both questions in his jump to the AA level.

Marte didn’t have the best strikeout rate prior to the 2011 season, with a 26.6% rate in high-A in 2010. He cut down on his strikeouts in 2011, putting up a respectable 18.7% rate. He didn’t draw a lot of walks, and some suggest that this is a sign that he lacks plate patience. Marte isn’t a free swinger, but he’s also not immune to the occasional bad swing. He makes up for his lack of walks with his plus speed, which allows him to reach base on bunt and infield singles.

He also added power in 2011, hitting 12 homers, which was more than double what he put up in the US over the previous two seasons. He’s young enough that he could still add more power going forward.

Marte will make the jump to AAA in 2012, with the chance of arriving in the majors as early as mid-season. He’s got plus defense in center field, with great range and a strong arm. His defense is good enough that he could move Andrew McCutchen over to left field. He’s a strong hitter with power who provides plus defense at a hard position to fill, making him the team’s top position player.

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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, 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

    What a jam he can create in the outfield.  Things could get really interesting by the trade deadline, either in the buying mode or the selling mode.

  • Dom DiDominic

    Huntington has already said that Marte needs at least one full year at AAA.

  • James Vargo

    Pirates take things way too slow. Just like leaving Sanchez down in AA again. He’ll be fine.

  • Chicken McD

    it’s very exciting to have Cutch and Marte….the discount Tabata gave is also nice, thats quite the speed in the outfield….im not saying trade one of them, but honestly, look at what Cincy gave up for #1 starter @ 24….if we give up just one great prospect, we can get a respectable inning eater? 

    • Anonymous

      The problem is,,,giving up 1 great prospect for an inning eater is not going to help us?  As long as the future is in High A ball, don’t ship pieces of the puzzle out unless it get’s us even better young top prospects.  Going with that, just because Cincy made a big trade, what have they done?  A great team needs atleast 3-4 great starting pitchers…  We need to think on terms of Philly pitching if we are ever going to win anything, especially on how the team drafts.

      • Chicken McD

        in respectable inning eater, i meant someone like Maholm, but even better.  I doubt a Latos type would only take one great prospect.  The surplus of outfielders is growing, get something down to benefit the club this year….maybe someone like Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza type.

        • Todd Smith

          Seems like there are guys like that available on the free agent market every year.  Better off going that route than give away any prospects…especially Marte, I think he’s going to be pretty special.

  • Todd Smith

    McCutchen at Altoona in 2007:  118 G, .258 AVG, .710 OPS, 10 HR, 17 SB
    Marte at Altoona in 2011: 129 G, .332 AVG, .870 OPS, 12 HR, 24 SB
    I’m sure I’m setting my hopes way too high there, but I am excited to see what Marte can do once he reaches the majors.  Hopefully we’ll get to see him in September at the very least.

    • brendan

      McCutchen was only 20, while Marte was 22. But I’m pretty excited about him regardless.

  • Anonymous

    Believe me some one who watched both Andrew and Marte at AA, I was a bit skeptical of Marte until July 1st.Then he really started to show a lot more patience at the plate with the breaking ball,and also started to drive the ball. He made a believer out of me ! He was much more advanced ( believe it or not ) than McCutchen was while he was in Altoona.Defensively,the only centerfielder in the orginization that I have seen on Marte’s level was Gorkys Hernandez,but I don’t think his arm was quite as strong.

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