Grand Slam Caps Off Nice Spring for Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starling Marte

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Starling Marte was able to add a nice finish to a solid spring. His Pittsburgh Pirates were playing their AA affiliate Altoona Curve, and Marte blasted a grand slam for his first home run of the spring. The blast came off of teammate Tony Watson.

2013 will be Marte’s first full big league season. He isn’t eligible for the Rookie of the Year award this season because he is 52 at-bats over the allotted amount of 130. If he was, he would be one of the favorites. Marte has a nice combination of power and speed. He had six triples last year in what equates to a third of a full season.

He will start the season as the Pirates leadoff hitter. If he can keep his number of strikeouts down and a work some walks in, he will be just what the Pirates need at the top of the order. In his six seasons in professional baseball he has never had a walk rate over 6.5 percent, so that’s something he’ll have to work on to get things moving in the right direction.

Marte is just one of several talented young players the Pirates have in their system. After many years of dreariness, there are bright skies ahead for Pirates fans. This team is almost ready to challenge for the top spot in the National League Central, and a winning season for the first time in 20 years would be a nice step in 2013.

Darren Pare is a Pittsburgh Pirates writer for Follow him on Twitter at dpare71, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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