Winter Leagues Recap: Notes on Starling Marte
Starling Marte’s Winter League season is likely over. The Pirates had mentioned recently that they would shut him down so he gets rest before Spring Training. He didn’t play in last night’s game and with the Dominican Winter League now taking off the next two days for their All-Star game, Marte will be in Altoona by Wednesday night as part of the Pirates Winter Caravan tour. Marte went 0-for-8 during his last two games, but he was on hot streak prior to that, which led him to two consecutive DWL Player of the Week awards for the weeks of Nov 20-26 and Nov 27-Dec 3.
On the DWL season, Marte played 29 games, going 34-for-112 at the plate, with four doubles, four triples, two homers and twenty RBI’s. He had a .304/.381/.464 line, giving him the team lead among regulars in all three of those categories. Marte already had quite a busy regular season between his time with the Pirates and in the minors. He played 147 games, with a combined 618 plate appearances before starting his Winter League schedule.
The possible upside of Marte’s season ending, is the fact it now opens up playing time for the team’s backup center fielder, Gregory Polanco. He had started just one game over the last four weeks, prior to manning center field last night for Leones del Escogido. Polanco batted ninth and had some rust at the plate, going 0-for-5, with two strikeouts. On the year, he is 6-for-35 in 13 games, with two doubles, one RBI and a 0/11 BB/K ratio.
Anderson Hernandez went 1-for-4, with a run scored. He has been batting lead-off the last two games, his fifth different spot in the lineup this DWL season. Hernandez also committed his sixth error of the year, a costly one that led to an eight run top of the ninth inning, as his team tried to close out a 5-1 game. Hernandez was a runner-up in the DWL Player of the Week voting last week, finishing in third place behind Marte.
In Venezuela, Ryan Reid threw a scoreless inning of relief work. He allowed a single and recorded three groundball outs. In 15.2 innings this year, Reid has struck out 15 batters and has posted an amazing 5.00 GO/AO ratio.
The Australian Baseball League in off until Thursday. In the meantime, we have an interview with 16-year-old Sam Kennelly, one of the prize signings of this year’s July 2nd signing class for the Pirates. He has the fifth highest reported bonus for a Pirates player this year, the first season with an International Bonus cap in place. That interview can be read here.