Thanks to Kristy Robinson, writer at Pirates Prospects, everyone in Pittsburgh was greeted with some awesome early evening news.
Starling Marte, made popular by his #FreeMarte campaign on Twitter has indeed been freed. I’m not going to touch onto any of the details of his time in Indianapolis because Matt Shetler was well ahead of the curve on posting that. What this post will focus on is what kind of expectations Pirates fans can have for Marte for the rest of the season.
With the arrival of Marte we need to set something for the record, Marte was not called up to play a Josh Harrison/Drew Sutton bench role and will be presumably starting in left field as soon as today when the Pirates open up in Houston.
According to FanGraphs, during his time in Indianapolis, Marte struck out at an alarmingly high rate of 21 percent while maintaining a 6.6 percent walk rate. The walk rate is by far the best he has had during his short career and to see that get to around 8.5- to-9 percentwould be the best case scenario.
Like previously stated the 21 percent strike out ratio is high but something that shouldn’t be too difficult to work on throughout his career. Marte makes solid contact almost every time the ball hits the bat, the biggest problem that pushes his strike out percentage up is his less than advanced ability to pick up breaking balls.
With the arrival of Starling Marte, it would be thought that this would move Alex Presley to a bench role and give Gorkys Hernandez some more time in Triple-A to develop his hitting tools.
One of the best things about Starling Marte is he is just finding his power. Marte has clubbed out 12 home runs, 13 triples and 21 doubles leading to a solid .500 slugging percentage in 388 at bats. If you expected to walk into PNC Park on an early Sunday afternoon expecting to see a small lanky outfielder, boy, you are in for quite the surprise.
If I had to make a guess on how Marte finished up this year, I think a reasonable expectation for his stat line would be a .260 batting average, 5-6 home runs, and 12-15 stolen bases.
The hardest thing in baseball though is that giant step into the big league batters box. Only time will really tell what kind of ball player Marte truly is. The only certainty is that Marte will be a fun player to watch whether he is roaming left, center, or right field in the coming years.
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