The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially recalled top outfield prospect Starling Marte from the team’s AAA affiliate in Indianapolis. Starling Marte
In 384 AAA at bats this season, Marte is hitting for a .286/.348/.500 line with 12 home runs. He has struck out 90 times and taken 20 walks while stealing 21 bases.
Last season, the now 23-year-old won the Eastern League (AA) batting title with a .332 average.
The Dominican native is the team’s best hitting prospect as a potential five-tool player in center field. He has the ability to hit for average, steal bases, rates as the organization’s second-best defensive outfielder (behind Gorkys Hernandez), has a nice arm and could eventually develop the power needed to round out as good overall impact Major Leaguer.
Quick comparison for those worried about the power: Andrew McCutchen hit nine home runs in 512 at bats during his final full season in AAA (age 21). He’s doing alright in that category now. Also, Marte stands about 6’2″ and weighs in at 180 lbs. He’s not a small man.
Marte, who was ranked baseball’s #72 prospect by Baseball America prior to the season, will likely make his Major League debut Thursday night in Houston.
Pirates fans have long awaited Marte’s debut and we’ll finally get to see what he’s all about tomorrow night.
I expect him to start over current left fielder Alex Presley for the time being, unless the team feels like really easing him into Major League ball and only giving him a few starts in the coming week or so.
Once he starts playing full time, though, the team may actually be better off moving McCutchen to left field and letting Marte roam center.
Crazy, I know.
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