Winter Leagues: Starling Marte Makes His Dominican League Season Debut

On Wednesday night, the Dominican league game between Leones del Escogido and Aguilas Cibaenas had a lot of interesting for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On one side of the field, Jung-Ho Kang and Edwin Espinal were in the Aguilas lineup. On the other side, Starling Marte was making his winter debut and Pablo Reyes was playing second base for Escogido. The game also included former Pirate minor leaguers Reese McGuire, Willy Garcia and Eury Perez, just for some added flavor.

Marte’s debut was the biggest note from this game, but it was a relatively quiet game from the entire group of current Pirates. Marte batted third, played left field and went 0-for-4, with a fly out to right field, a fly out to center field, a ground out to second base and a strikeout. He posted a video on Instagram of his batting practice on Tuesday.

Jung-Ho Kang went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He’s hitting .130 through 13 games, with a double, homer, three walks and 18 strikeouts.

Edwin Espinal went 0-for-4, driving in a run in the first inning on a ground out. That turned out to be the difference in the 2-1 game. Espinal is hitting .375/.474/.469 in ten games.

Pablo Reyes went 0-for-2 with two walks. He’s hitting .200/.310/.239 in 12 games.

Anderson Feliz wasn’t in the big game, but he did see action in the Dominican. He went 1-for-3 with a single, walk and two runs scored.

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar went 1-for-4 with a single, RBI and three strikeouts. He’s hitting .303/.357/.355 in 19 games. Escobar was supposed to work on his base stealing this winter, but so far he has attempted just two steals.

  • No shout out to Ground Chuck in closing down the last 4 innings of a World Series game 7. I’m happy for him.

    • I agree. He appears to have re-invented himself and did it successfully.

      • Or he just stayed healthy for a while.

        Compare his numbers this season to his best years in Pittsburgh. Not much of a deviation.

        • Not much deviation? They’re not even close.

          Remember, Morton’s best years as a Pirate came in a completely different offensive environment.

          • He had an ERA+ of 109 this year.
            He had an ERA+ of 109 in ’13.


            • Not sure where you’re getting that.


              2013: 91 ERA-, 98 FIP-, 17% K
              2017: 86 ERA-, 78 FIP-, 26% K

              There’s also this:
              and this:
              article talking about how much he’s a different pitcher now among about a hundred similar articles and easy google search would produce, but sure, you’re right.

              • Anyone who argues that Morton ins’t a distinctly different pitcher in Houston than he was in Pittsburgh either is misinformed or has an agenda.

                • One could say the same about you as you’re saying, that you have an agenda. I’m just looking at the numbers. I once thought like you, that he had a much better year. Until someone told me to look at the numbers.

                  I used baseball reference. Look across all of the lines, specifically comparing ’13 and ’14 to this year. Don’t just cherry pick numbers to prove a point. (Yeah, I know I did. I’m into this a lot more than I really want to be.) MAybe he did have a better year. But his numbers those two seasons are pretty close. Which is what my point was in the first place.


                  • They are not comparable. First of all I use Fwar in which Morton has more than doubled his performance in any year of his career. 3.3 fWAR vs 1.6 in 2014. Even if you want to use bWAR he is much better 1.8 bWAR where he never did better than .5 bWAR between 2013 and 2015 as a PIrate.

                    His K-BB% of 18% is dramatically better. People DO NOT put the ball in play nearly as much against him. As a Pirate he NEVER had a K-BB% above 10.4%.

                    As NMR said, you must account for offensive environment. You can’t just compare FIPS and ERAs from year to year. His FIP – was 21% better than league average this year and ranked 17th among starting pitchers who threw at least 100 innings. As a Pirate, he was below league average in FIP – most years. This is not the same pitcher.

                    • “You can’t just compare FIPS and ERAs from year to year. ”
                      Perhaps I’m wrong, but ERA+ is supposed to compensate for the year to year differences?

                      “His K-BB% of 18% is dramatically better. People DO NOT put the ball in play nearly as much against him. As a Pirate he NEVER had a K-BB% above 10.4%.”
                      FWIW, Pirates coaches had him pitching to contact where as Houston coaches have him trying to strike out batters. A whole thread can be dedicated to the differences.

                    • That is precisely the point- they turned Morton into a highly successful “strikeout” pitcher as opposed to a pitch to contact guy. Morton himself said he had tired of the fickle nature of BABIP. Hopefully the Pirates Front Office has grown tired of such silliness as well but don’t hold your breath.

                    • So you’re basing it solely on strikeouts and then disregard anything that disproves your point on the juiced ball.

                      And I’m the one with the agenda.

                    • What are you talking about?

                    • *Actually*, the guy who changed his pitch repertoire, pitch mix, approach, and gained 5+ mph is totally the same dude he was before because “numbers” is a take I’d love to see…