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.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Starling Marte looks every bit like a Real Deal. He just needs the time to read pitching in the bigs. Less we forget, it took Cutch into his third MLB season to flourish. Pedro took two years to get into a healthy rhythm.
Marte is due at the Pirate Caravan, tomorrow, Tuesday evening in Johnstown PA, then Altoona on Wednesday
Thanks for that info, the Altoona Curve mention about him joining the caravan on Wednesday said nothing about him being there a day earlier. Could’ve been added after they posted it though