Starling Marte had a big night at the plate tonight, going 3-for-4 with a homer and a triple, falling a double short of a cycle. Every time I mention a player playing well, I’m guaranteed to get several “when will he be promoted” questions. To answer that for Marte: not for a while.
The Indianapolis center fielder has been on a hot streak recently, hitting for a .357/.378/.714 line with three homers in 42 at-bats over his last ten games. He also has three triples in that stretch.
Prior to this stretch, Marte was struggling. He did pretty well in April, hitting for a .276/.351/.483 line in 87 at-bats. However, he slumped in May, with a .236/.274/.382 line in 89 at-bats.
The positive is that the power is there. Even when he was slumping, he was putting up an ISO of .146. On the season he has an ISO of .200, which is an increase over the .168 mark from his breakout season last year.
His strikeout and walk rates aren’t too bad. He’s got a 22.8% strikeout rate and a 5.1% walk rate. However, neither of those numbers are strong. Marte also isn’t hitting for average enough to justify the low walk totals. A bigger concern in that department is that seven of his ten walks came in April.
It’s good to see Marte hitting, but he needs more time. He needs to hit for longer than a ten game stretch. Ideally you’d like to see him sustain his success for a month or two. You’d also like to see him taking a few more walks, similar to the rate he had in April. Even in his current hot streak, he’s not taking walks, with just one in that ten game stretch.
The best case scenario for Marte would be him going on a hot streak now, and carrying that over through July. That would allow the Pirates to call him up around the trade deadline for the final two months of the season, giving them a late season boost on offense. Anything earlier, especially with the way his month of May went, and they’d be rushing him.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates beat Milwaukee 8-2. Kristy Robinson points out in her notebook that the win matches the 2011 win total at Miller Park.
**Prospect Watch: Marte has a three hit night, including his fifth homer.
**Charlie Morton was placed on the disabled list today, and Juan Cruz was activated from the restricted list. Kristy Robinson looks at how Morton isn’t the same pitcher this year, and looks at his trip to the DL.
**A look at Matt Hague and Jordy Mercer, who have been playing on the same team every year since their final year in college.+ posts
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.