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.

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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