According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to start Starling Marte in Altoona at the beginning of the 2011 season. Biertempfel also reports that Tony Sanchez should start in Altoona next season, as long as he doesn’t regress in his recovery from a broken jaw.
Both Marte and Sanchez saw their seasons cut short due to injuries. Marte hit for a .315/.386/.432 line in 222 at-bats, but missed a big chunk of the season after being hit in the hand with a pitch. Marte had to have the hook of his hammate bone removed, a procedure which can rob a player of power for about a year. Sanchez hit for a .314/.416/.454 line in 207 at-bats, but was hit in the face with a pitch on two separate occasions, with the second instance breaking his jaw and ending his season in late June.
Sanchez and Marte were the top two prospects in Bradenton this year in the 2010 Bradenton Marauders season recap. They are also both top five prospects in the system, easily the top two hitting prospects, and quite possibly the number two and three prospects behind Jameson Taillon. Sanchez will play in the Arizona Fall League during the off-season, which should help him get some experience against the next level, as most of the players in the league are either in AA or AAA. Both players could be in the majors by June 2012, and possibly earlier depending on how they start off in Altoona next year.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.