Starling Marte and Jeff Locke Rank in International League Top 20

Baseball America released their 2012 International League top 20 list yesterday, with two Pirates prospects making the list. Starling Marte and Jeff Locke both made an appearance, and both were in the top ten. The rankings can be seen here, and scouting reports can be seen here by subscribers.

Marte was ranked the second best prospect in the league, falling only behind Matt Harvey of the Mets. Baseball America noted that he could be a star if he gets in to more hitters counts and taps in to his plus raw power. They also noticed his tendency to be too aggressive.

Locke was rated the number nine prospect in the league, one behind Jacob Turner. Baseball America noted that Locke profiles as a number four starter because he lacks a plus pitch. Locke throws his fastball in the 88-91 MPH range, touching as high as 93, and mixes in a curve, slider, and changeup.

Both players exceeded their prospect eligibility this year, so they won’t end up in the 2013 prospect rankings.

In the chat, John Manuel notes that if Gerrit Cole would have qualified, he would have topped the list.

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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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  • TonyPenaforHOF

    A great Latin signing and a 4th starter we traded an All Star for. Not exactly building through the draft.

    • Chris

      Come on, Nate McLouth wasn’t a real all star. He hasn’t even put together a good, full season, ever. We also received Morton and Hernandez in that deal. I understand that the drafts haven’t panned out yet, but who really cares where we get the talent. The Nate McLouth deal was very lopsided in our favor.

      • RandyLinville

        Between 2003 and 2011, only two Pirates had a better season than McLouth’s 2008 season (as measured by OPS+) – Bay and Cutch. In 2008 on a 95 loss team, McLouth made the All-Star team, scored 113 runs, drove in 94 runs, collected 76 extra base hits, stole 23 bases and won a Gold Glove with an OPS+ of 125. So, claiming he ‘hasn’t even put together a good, full season, ever’ is incorrect. If you say he hasn’t put together a good, full season since being traded in 2009, I would agree with that.

        • Chris

          McLouth really only played well before the fire sale of 2008 (July 31st deadline). He had a ton of protection in that lineup with Bay and Nady hitting behind him. He had 19 homers and 65 RBI before the all star break (that’s tremendous!) and 7 homers and 29 RBI after (that’s not!). Sluggling was .542 Pre and .426 Post. I’m not saying he had a bad year. I’m just saying he only showed up for 2/3 of the year, with lots of protection in the lineup. Did you watch that team in ’08? They were fun to watch with those comeback wins and all that scoring. After they traded the hitting away, that team was hard to watch, including McLouth. In hindsight, it was a great trade!

          • RandyLinville

            I think you are being arbitrary. You can slice up Cutch’s 2012 and say he didn’t have a good ‘full’ season because he slumped in August and was pedestrian in April. Are you declaring Pedro Alvarez’ 2012 season to be bad? His OPS on the whole year was .784, while McLouth’s second half in 2008 was .781?

            • Chris

              I was responding to the McLouth being an all star comment initially. He was an all star for 2/3 of the season. He has been mediocre to bad since, with the exception of the last 1/3 of a season with Baltimore. Perhaps I am being arbitrary when it comes to the full season, but selling high on McLouth was a bright spot for the organization.

      • TonyPenaforHOF

        Nate was a “real” All Star. His performance was way above the tokens the Pirates and teams like KC have sent in past years.

        We got a so-so pitcher in Morton, a no hit good defense outfielder in Hernandez and a POTENTIAL number 4 starter in Locke. Not really a Tony Pena for Van Slyke, Lavallere kind of trade is it? It was ok but not great. We need great.

        • Chris

          Nate has had a 1/4 of a good season in the last 3 1/2 years (That was the last 2 months). Is that an all star? I rather have the 3 we have/had than waste the money (he signed a 3 year deal and did not live up the the money) on him. I liked him when he was here, but he pretty much sucked as a Brave for 3 years!

          • TonyPenaforHOF

            I agree with you about Nate in Pittsburgh and his performance since he left. Where we disagree is his trade value and the return. We didn’t get much for him. I think we should have gotten more.

            • Chris

              It seems to me that you think Nate was worth more than he was. What do you expect for a return. Morton has been about equal to Nate’s performance with the Pirates. Hernandez was a trade chip. Locke is bonus if he does anything with us. We are already ahead in the trade.

  • emjayinTN

    I disagree that the drafts have not panned out – the Pirates drafted McCutchen, Walker, and Alvarez and those are the guys we are building with. Marte was an average International signing until he grew upward and outward the past 2 or 3 years and has superstar written all over himself. Marte is definitely the LF and leadoff batter in 2013 and I hope that Jeff Locke is the second LHSP in the Rotation. Others who will be with the Pirates in 2013 should be bullpen guys Justin Wilson and Jared Hughes, 2 more draftees, joining Tony Watson another draftee. And then Bryan Morris and Chris Leroux will also join MY 2013 bullpen. Tony Sanchez, still only 24, hit .277 in 141 AB’s at AA and then had 12 doubles and 8 HR’s in only 200 AB’s in AAA. He has had some issues on and off the field. The beaning at Hi A took an entire year away and he never quite made it back the following year, and then an off-season bar fight busted his jaw again just before this season – is this kid related to Roethlisberger? He needs a good off-season and a new resolve in 2013.

    • TonyPenaforHOF

      The drafts need to be looked at with nuance. Here is my criteria:
      – Draft position
      – Number of players developed overall
      – Number of players developed after the first round

      I would compare these numbers to all the other teams over a period of time. It takes four to five years for the players to really show their talents. Our GM has five years under his belt so there is good data to work from.

      I believe our GM is average in this area. His first round picks seem to be ok – not great. Because of our draft position this the lowest grade of acceptability. If we were drafting in the 25th round with the same results, then it would be good. That is how I see the difference.

      Not many of our other players in the later rounds are panning out. While I don’t know the industry norm, I am sure this level of performance does not rank at the top of the league. That is what I feel we should expect.

      Would love to see P2 or Fangraphs do this in a comprehensive form. It won’t happen in the mainstream media for fear of angering MLB.

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