2011 Top Pirates Prospects: #2 – Starling Marte

The Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide was released last week, featuring 237 prospect reports, interviews with Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Zack Dodson, the 2011 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, the top ten prospects will be released on the site.

Be sure to purchase your copy of the book by clicking “Buy Now” at the bottom of this page (or to the right).

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Colton Cain
9. Zack Von Rosenberg
8. Jeff Locke
7. Rudy Owens
6. Bryan Morris
5. Luis Heredia
4. Stetson Allie
3. Tony Sanchez

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

2. Starling Marte, OF

Marte could be the best international prospect developed by the Pirates since Aramis Ramirez.

Marte signed with the Pirates in 2007 out of the Dominican Republic, signing for $85,000. He has a strong season in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, then took an aggressive leap to West Virginia in the middle of the 2009 season, where he put up good numbers considering the jump he made.

Marte continued his success in 2010, with strong numbers all around in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. He had his season shortened after a pitch hit him in the hand, causing him to have the hook of his hamate bone removed. Starling returned at the end of the season, but the injury should affect his power production for at least a year.

The Pirates haven’t fully developed a strong international prospect since Aramis Ramirez, but Marte could break that streak. He is a five tool talent, profiling best as a center fielder with an above-average arm, and plus-plus speed. He could end up playing LF in Pittsburgh with Andrew McCutchen in CF. The downside for Marte is his lack of power and plate discipline. He hits for extra bases, but lacks home run power, and the hamate injury won’t help that in the short term. There are concerns that Marte won’t hit for average in the upper levels unless he improves these two areas. He is expected to start the 2011 season in Altoona at the age of 22, and could be in the majors by June 2012, giving him some time to work on these two issues.

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.

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Micah Scheindlin

I’m curious- will you write another post after the top 10 justifying the places held by certain players? I think your rating of Marte at #2 is justifiable, but it’s certainly not the norm. Your case for Starling over Sanchez, Allie, Heredia would be well-worth reading.

Matt Juszczak

I’ve read in different places that his defense may be even better than McCutchen’s eventually. Any chance McCutchen moves to LF and Marte takes of CF either in his rookie or sophomore year?


Marte at #2 might be a little high for me

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