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Starling Marte

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Starling Javier Marte

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 168 lb.
  • High School Colegio Carolina
  • Debut July 26, 2012

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[edit] Biographical Information

Starling Marte is a Pittsburgh Pirates player who made his major league debut in 2012.

Marte was signed by Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo and Dominican scouting supervisor Josue Herrera in 2006 for a $85,000 bonus. He hit .220/.307/.288 for the 2007 DSL Pirates but stole 16 bases in 18 tries. He improved significantly at age 19, batting .296/.367/.455 for the same team in 2008. He scored 53 runs in 65 games and swiped 20 bases in 28 tries. He tied for 8th in the Dominican Summer League in RBI (44), tied for 4th in home runs (9) and was 4th in runs. He won MVP honors.

In 2009, Marte moved stateside, playing for three different teams: the GCL Pirates, the West Virginia Power and the Lynchburg Hillcats. In a combined 57 games, he hit .309/.371/.430. In 2010, he was slowed by injuries, playing only 60 games for the Bradenton Marauders in addition to a rehabilitation assignment back with the GCL Pirates. He hit .315 at Bradenton, and .345 in the GCL. In 2011, he had an outstanding season for the AA Altoona Curve, hitting .332/.370/.500 in 129 games, with 38 doubles and 24 stolen bases. He scored 91 runs as the regular centerfielder, was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-Star team. He was also selected to play in the 2011 Futures Game. After the season, Baseball America ranked him at # 73 on its top 100 prospects list.

Now considered the best position player in the Pirates' minor league system, Marte began 2012 with the AAA Indianapolis Indians. He hit .286 in 99 games, with 21 doubles, 13 triples and 12 homers, and was named a mid-season All-Star in the International League. On July 26th, he was called up to make his major league debut with the Bucs. Leading off against Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, he hit the first pitch of the game for a home run, sending the Pirates on their way to a 5-3 win. He collected another hit that day to finish 2 for 4. He played 47 games for the Pirates that first season, 43 in left field and 4 in center, hitting .257/.300/.437. He hit only 3 doubles, but 6 triples and 5 homers,scored 18 runs and drove in 17, and was 12 for 17 in stolen base attempts. In spite of his low OBP, the season was good for an OPS+ of 104 - a promising start to his major league career.

Marte played very well in the Dominican League in the 2012-13 off-season. He led the Leones del Escogido to an appearance in the 2013 Caribbean Series by going 11 for 21 and earning MVP honors in the Dominican finals as Escogido swept the Aguilas Cibaenas in five games. Marte had one of the biggest hits of the season for the Pirates in 2013: on September 23rd, facing Kevin Gregg of the Chicago Cubs with two outs and a 1-1 tie at Wrigley Field, he hit a solo homer that gave the Bucs a 2-1 win which clinched the team's first postseason appearance since 1992. Marte had been one of the Pirates' most reliable players all season as the starting left fielder. He was leading the National League with 10 triples and the homer was his 12th of the season. He finished the year at .280/.343/.441 in 135 games, scoring 83 runs. His 10 triples left him tied for second place in the NL, one behind Denard Span and tied with Jose Segura and Carlos Gomez. He stole 41 bases, but was caught stealing a league-leading 15 times. With the Pirates making the postseason for the first time since 1992, he went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored in the Wild Card Game win over the Cincinnati Reds, but he went only 1 for 19 as the Pirates' bats were stifled by the St. Louis Cardinals' pitching in the NLDS.

On March 26, 2014, Marte signed a six-year contract extension with the Pirates, for a total of $31 million, indicating that he was one of the key pieces in the Pirates' future, alongside Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.

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