- Sept 22, 2023: Marte played in a simulated game Sept. 19 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., marking his most significant progress yet in his bid to return to the field. The initial plan was for Marte to go on a brief rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Sept. 23-24, but rain could interfere with that. In either event, Marte is scheduled to play in a simulated game at Citi Field on Sept. 26.
If all goes well, Marte should return to play in at least a portion of the Mets' final homestand that ends Oct. 1.
All told, Marte will have missed more than seven weeks due to a groin strain that threatened to knock him out for the season. He has been feeling good of late, however, and he remains hopeful that he will be able to return without issue. If he can, that will heighten the chance that he will be able to avoid another groin surgery this offseason.
|DOB:||10/9/1988||Agent:||Peter E. Greenberg|
|Birth City:||Santo Domingo, D.R.|
|Draft:||2007 - Pirates - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Marte was born in Santo Domingo. Starling is the oldest of Ramon and Salutriana Marte’s three children.
“Growing up there was great,” he said. “It’s a beautiful city.” It’s also a hotbed for baseball. “A lot of people there don’t have much,” Marte said. “Baseball is really what guides them through. They watch the big leagues primarily, and it brings them a lot of joy.”
Marte’s father played third base for local amateur teams, and Starling started out as a shortstop. He began turning heads while playing for youth teams. “By the time I was 8 years old, I heard from people that I was a special player,” he said.
Starling's mother died when he was 10, leaving him to be raised by his grandmother.
- Major League scouts began showing interest when Marte shifted to the outfield as an 18-year-old. “I had offers from several teams,” he said. “But they had poor relations with my buscon (literally, “he who seeks,” someone who connects players with big league clubs).”
His buscon, Ramon Genao, had a good working relationship with Pittsburgh, and Marte signed with the Pirates in 2007 for a reported $85,000.
Marte is the first tangible result of the Pirates' renewed commitment to scouting Latin America. Signed in 2007, he was the MVP of Pittsburgh's rookie-level Dominican Summer League affiliate the following year. Rene Gayo and Chino Valdez are the scouts that signed him.
Starling made his U.S. debut in 2009, jumping from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League to low Class A West Virginia after just two games.
In 2010, Baseball America rated Marte as 6th-best prospect in the Pirates organization. They moved him up to #4 in the spring of 2011. And they had him at #4 again in the winter before 2012 spring training.
In 2011, Starling had franchise-record 178 hits for the Double-A Altoona Curve (EL-Pirates). He led the Eastern League in batting (.332), hits (178) and doubles (38).
2012: Starling hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the Majors. The hit made Marte the third player in Pirates' franchise history to homer in his first at-bat and the first to do it since Don Leppert in 1961. He also became the first Pirate to homer on the first pitch of his Major League career since Walter Mueller did so in 1922.
As of May 7, 2013, Marte's start at the top of the Pirates' lineup is of historic proportions. Marte has reached base in 29 of the Bucs' first 32 games—the best start by the club's leadoff hitter since Lloyd Waner had a 30 of 32 stretch in 1931.
Step into a baseball clubhouse any day of the season, and you're bound to hear some kind of music booming from the clubhouse speaker system. Sometimes it's country, other times classic rock. Many teams cue up a celebratory hip-hop playlist after they win. You'll hear Latin music and '90s alternative playlists and the occasional throwback to Frank Sinatra.
Visitors to the Pirates' PNC Park clubhouse before a game against the Padres were greeted by the dulcet tones of ... something else entirely. Starling Marte, walking around with an accordion strapped to his chest.
Why, you might ask? One of his teammates quietly theorized that Marte bought the instrument online just to joke around with it. But by the time the Pirates clubhouse closed to the media, this intrepid MLB.com correspondent was left amused, but confused. Fortunately, Dan Potash of ROOT Sports got to the bottom of the story.
The accordion did not, in fact, belong to Marte at all. It is the property of one Felipe Rivero, the Pirates' new lefty setup man and accordionist-in-training. According to the Potash dispatch, Rivero has only been playing the squeezebox for a few months, taking lessons to perfect his craft. Marte, apparently, needed only a few minutes.
So he picked up the instrument and carried it around the clubhouse, serenading his teammates with a straight face and laying down an unusual backing track for manager Clint Hurdle's daily chat with the media. Marte clearly has this baseball thing figured out pretty well. What instrument will Marte try to master next? Here's hoping it's the keytar. (Berry - MLB.com - 8/11/16)
April 18, 2017: Marte was suspended 80 games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Marte tested positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance, according to a statement by the Commissioner's Office.
July 18, 2017: Marte was activated from his suspension.
2018: Marte had the highest current WAR (26.2) of any Pirates player.
July 12, 2019: Starling played in his 900th MLB game.
July 13, 2019: Starling became just the second player in Pirates team history to hit at least 100 home runs and steal 200 bases. The other: Barry Bonds, who hit 176 home runs and stole 251 bases with the Pirates from 1986-92.
Dec 2, 2019: One way or another, it seems, Starling Marte would prefer to play for a contending team next season.
The Pirates haven’t publicly stated their plan for 2020, whether they intend to keep their current core intact or rebuild for the future under new general manager Ben Cherington. The current uncertainty creates speculation, however, like the report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman that the Mets would be interested in acquiring Marte. And that speculation leads to questions like the one recently posed to Marte in his native Dominican Republic.
In an interview recorded by sports journalist Hector Gomez, Marte was asked about the possibility of being traded to the Mets. He acknowledged that Pittsburgh controls his future after picking up his $11.5 million club option for next year, but he indicated that he’s open to a trade after spending his entire professional career with the Pirates.
“If it was for me, I will leave for a team that is ready to compete right now [for] a World Series, and that’s not our case,” Marte said, according to a translation tweeted by Gomez. “The Mets are in position to do that, and it will be an honor to play with them. If it doesn’t happen, I will keep working hard and giving my team all I have.”
That is a long way from requesting a trade. Marte went out of his way, in fact, to say he’ll play hard for the Pirates. And it’s not exactly controversial for Marte to suggest that the Pirates won’t be listed among the favorites to win the 2020 World Series. In 2019, they lost 93 games as well as ace Jameson Taillon (Tommy John surgery) and All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez (arrested) before parting ways with their president, GM, manager, assistant GM, bench coach and pitching coach. Yikes!
The Pirates don’t have many players who would yield a legitimate haul on the trade market, the kind that would expedite a rebuilding process. But if the Bucs want to add talent to their system at the expense of a handful of wins in 2020, they can do so by dealing Marte. As MLB.com’s Matt Kelly explored in late October, this might be the best time for Pittsburgh to consider trading him.
Marte is an appealing option for teams in need of outfield help. The 31-year-old is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner in left field, and the underlying Statcast metrics—like his high-end sprint speed and outfielder jump—represent his elite athleticism.
In summary: He’s a top-of-the-order hitter with power and speed who can capably handle center field or dominate in a corner spot while adding value with his strong throwing arm, and he’s due a reasonable $11.5 million in 2020 with a $12.5 million club option for 2021. (A Berry - MLB.com - Dec 2, 2019)
May 18, 2020: Starling's wife Noelia died unexpectedly of a heart attack.
Marte posted the news on his social media accounts. "Today I go through the great pain of making public the unfortunate death of my wife Noelia, due to a heart attack,” Marte wrote on Instagram. “It is a moment of indescribable pain. On behalf of my family, I am grateful for the expressions of esteem and solidarity in this difficult time.”
According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Noelia Marte had recently broken her ankle and was in the hospital awaiting surgery when she suffered the heart attack.
The couple has three young children: sons Starling Jr. and Smerling and a daughter, Tiana. (Gilbert - mlb.com - 5/17/2020)
July 10, 2020: Marte arrived at the team’s summer camp after speculation of where he had been.
On a Zoom call with reporters, Marte said he felt ready to start the season and his first day of camp was delayed waiting for his coronavirus test results from Major League Baseball.
“I feel very prepared for the season and I’m ready to go,” Marte said via translator.
Marte hasn’t always been ready. He said that after the loss of his wife, Noelia, earlier this year, he had contemplated leaving the game.
In May, Marte’s wife died of a heart attack. Marte said she had broken her ankle and suffered a heart attack while awaiting surgery. His first thought after her passing was that he wanted to retire and didn’t want to play baseball anymore. But the more conversations he had with pastors and friends, the more he felt supported to return to the game.
“I’m very happy to be back, especially with my kids, and obviously it’s been a very tough time for us, but through God and being able to speak with a couple of pastors and priests at our church, they’ve been able to help me through this process,” Starling said.
Starling also mentioned that teammate Ketel Marte has been like a brother to him throughout the process.
“For me personally, and the rest of the team, we really try to strike up as many conversations as we can with Marte and we really try to connect that chemistry,” Ketel told reporters via translator on Friday.
“Unfortunately, with the tragedy that happened a couple months ago, with him, when he gets alone when he’s alone at his house, we know that those bad thoughts come in. So we just want to be around him, we want help him, we want to be good teammates and be supportive and help him have a really good year.”
D-backs’ managing general partner Ken Kendrick helped Startling Marte and Ketel Marte both return to Arizona from the Dominican Republican last week using his personal plane. That way, the players’ families were able to come along, given the circumstances.
Starling said with the passing of his wife, his oldest daughter has taken the loss of her mother the hardest, but throughout the process they’ve all come out strong. With the start of the season rising, he’s eager to return to the game with his children by his side. (Kaci Demarest)
Rene Gayo, 57, the son of Cuban refugees and former international scouting director for the Pirates, saw Marte twice in 2006, months before he signed him after a workout in San Pedro de Macoris in 2007. Marte was tall and lean. He was strong and fast. Sure, he wasn’t the extraordinary shortstop his trainer Ramon “Papiro” Genao said he was. The solution was simple—just move him to the outfield.
Gayo, who had previously scouted for Cleveland for a decade before joining Pittsburgh in 2004, wanted to sign Marte earlier that summer. But others in the organization were not convinced.
“I remember asking Papiro why we were there, because the Pirates had seen me a lot and didn’t want me,” Marte said. “And he kept saying, ‘They saw you when you weren’t a real ballplayer. Now, you are a real ballplayer. Every team will want you.’”
In the fast-paced world of international scouting, a delay in consensus could be fatal to a prospect’s career. It almost derailed Marte’s path. Then, fate intervened when a film crew from a Pittsburgh television station traveled to the Dominican Republic to film a workout as part of a documentary on the team’s operations on the island. Marte threw a wrinkle in everyone’s plans by showing up. He wasn’t invited.
“I’m in the outfield getting interviewed by these camera people and all of a sudden I hear a bunch of screaming and yelling,” Gayo said. “So, I tell the American camera guys ‘I’ll be right back,’ and I go see what’s going on. And it’s our guys and Starling’s trainer yelling at each other in Spanish. Our guys are telling them, ‘We don’t want him there because we have seen him,’ and his trainer keeps insisting we see him again. I look up in the stands and Starling has his hands on his face crying. I’m like, ‘We can’t have any drama. The Americans are here to film us!’ I yelled at Starling to get into the outfield get ready to work.”
That’s when Marte’s tears stopped rolling and the cameras started shooting. The teen’s superb running, throwing, and hitting abilities were almost off the charts. The kids watching the tryouts moved from the stands to the grass, where they cheered his every move. It didn’t take an expert to realize Marte had something special.
“You could have put a glass of water on his head, and it wouldn't have spilled,” Gayo recalled. “That’s just how graceful a runner he was. If he’s born in America, he's a running back and going pro, not playing baseball.”
Marte blew the evaluators away with 80-grade throwing, running and hitting potential. His below-average showing at shortstop was the primary reason he didn’t sign with a team until he was 18, two years after most top teens in the Dominican sign. A switch in representation also slowed down the signing process. But in many ways, the timing could not have been better.
“We were expecting to see 5 kids, and I think 25 showed up for the workout,” said AT&T SportsNet anchor Rob King, who was on site in San Pedro de Macoris and played a key role in producing the documentary. “I remember Rene saying, ‘If they are going to show up and be here, I might as well watch them perform.’ And it was one of the highlights of my career. Starling was like a lightning bolt out of the sky. You have a better chance of finding a pearl in an oyster than to go that workout, have somebody be signed, and that person wind up to be Starling Marte. It was just amazing.” (Sanchez - mlb.com - 7/21/2020)
Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Marte’s teammate in Pittsburgh from 2012-16, is certain D-backs fans and new Arizona teammates are going to fall in love with his old buddy. Marte is “one of a kind,” McCutchen said.
“I was in the dugout with him in Houston during his big league debut [in 2012], and he looked at me and winked,” McCutchen said. “He says, ‘I’m going to swing and I’m going to hit a home run in my first at-bat.’ And what do you know? He hits a homer. Right then, you knew he was going to be somebody that could play, but also somebody that enjoyed the game. You need that on a team. Every team needs somebody like that who doesn’t take everything so seriously all of the time.” (Sanchez - mlb.com - 7/21/2020)
2020 Season: 236 R, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB .281/.340/.430
While his overall offensive performance did drop from 2019, including in the notable Statcast metrics, Marte still was on pace for 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a 162-game pace. His combination of power and speed is what makes him such a desirable fantasy player.
The projections seem to agree, with ZiPS projecting a near-identical 2020 prorated total with 15 home runs and 25 steals, while Steamer projects 20 homers and 22 stolen bases. If he matches either of those totals, Marte should once again remain a valuable fantasy contributor. His declining bat should be kept in mind, as after the extreme offensive environment of 2019 in which Marte had his best overall offensive season, he didn’t quite match it, and it’s unlikely that he ever does again, now another year older at age 32. (Matt Wallach - Jan. 20, 2021)
2021 Season: Slashing a combined .308/.381/.456 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI’s, and 47 stolen bases during the 2021 campaign.
Marte delivered above-average production for both the Marlins and A’s in 2021 at a position of need for the Mariners. On the surface, this immediately makes him appealing.
Although Marte was not a big bopper with just 12 home runs this year, he did hit 27 doubles. The right-handed hitter was also disruptive on the base paths with 47 stolen bases, including 25 with Oakland after joining the team in late-July.
An interesting tidbit regarding Marte, his 24.1% fly ball rate was fourth lowest in the majors. Why does this matter? Because fly balls in T-Mobile Park generally do not benefit batters. Since 2019, the offensive production of players visiting Seattle ranks in the bottom third of MLB.
T-Mobile Park Fly Ball Stats (and MLB Rankings) for visiting players since 2019:
*.261 AVG (21st) .262 OBP (19th) .840 SLG (22nd) .444 wOBA (22nd) .454 xwOBA (22nd)17.1 HR/FB% (22nd) 312 feet average distance (T-29)
Conversely, Marte had the sixth highest ground ball rate (54.8%). Hitting a lot of grounders is not always a good thing. But it worked for the 10-year veteran.
In 2021, MLB hitters had a .243 AVG and .221 wOBA on ground balls. Yet, Marte recorded a .332 AVG and .307 wOBA. That was not simply good luck. His ground ball numbers for the last four seasons were above-average – .299 AVG and .276 wOBA.
Sept. 2022: Marte chose to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2023 WBC.
January 2007: Marte signed as a free agent with the Pirates for $85,000, out of the D.R.
March 26, 2014: Marte and the Pirates agreed on a six-year, $31 million contract extension.
Nov 4, 2019: The Pirates picked up their club option for Marte, who made $10 million in the final guaranteed season of his contract, and will earn $11.5 million in 2020. The contract extension he signed in 2014 also includes a $12.5 million club option for the 2021 season.
Jan. 27, 2020: The Pirates traded Marte to the D-backs and received two high-risk/high-reward prospects in shortstop Liover Peguero and right-hander Brennan Malone, along with $250,000 in additional international-spending capacity.
Aug. 31, 2020: The Marlins acquired Starling Marte from the D-backs in exchange for left-hander Caleb Smith, righty Humberto Mejía, and a player to be named later.
Oct 28, 2020: Miami announced it has exercised the club option for center fielder Starling Marte, who will make $12.5 million in 2021.
July 28, 2021: The Marlins traded CF Starling Marte to the Athletics for LHP Jesus Luzardo.
Nov 3, 2021: Marte chose free agency.
- Nov 27, 2021: The Mets agreed to a four-year, $78 million contract with Marte.
Marte is a five-tool talent. He is a line-drive producer who is getting stronger and will have better power numbers as he matures physically, and as a hitter.
Starling needs better pitch recognition and discipline at the plate. He needs to focus on his on-base skills. He is striving to be more selective and swing at strikes and pitches he can handle. He does chase fewer breaking balls than he used to. But he could become a star if he gets into hitters' counts more consistently and taps into his plus raw power.
He drives the ball from gap to gap. He has strong hands and a quick, line-drive swing and a natural feel for the barrel.
Marte does a good job of making contact and uses his speed to beat balls out, but he still has to prove that he can do more offensively than hit for average. While he doesn't draw walks, in 2011, he made significant strides in identifying and laying off breaking balls out of the strike zone, indicating his aptitude. He'll have to incorporate his lower half into his swing better to improve his below average pop.
Since he isn't huge and he doesn't fit the stereotype of a muscle-bound thumper, Marte's power comes from his extremely quick hands, generating better than average bat speed. His swing plane allows him to consistently use the barrel of the bat. His hands, wrists, and well-developed forearms do the work and provide the torque necessary to drive the ball and create backspin.
Marte can't change the aggressive, all-out way he plays the game, which contributes to the dings and costs him a few calibers as a leadoff man. Some leadoff men, especially in the first inning, take as many pitches as possible to get an extended look at that day's opposing starting pitcher, perhaps in the process draw a walk to jump-start the offense. That's not Marte.
Marte partly makes up for it by doing other atypical leadoff things. Extra-base power, for one. "He gives us a dynamic presence atop the lineup no one else can match," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Marte also makes up for it by getting hit with pitches. It's a pretty amazing set of numbers: Compared to his 31 unintentional walks, he has been hit by pitches 27 times. Of course, bases on balls are painless.
"It's part of the game," Marte said with a shrug. "Anybody can get mad, but it's all fine, because I never get the feeling it's on purpose. If I ever felt that somebody hit me on purpose, that'll be different."
Starling shares a spot in Pirates history with one of the franchise's most storied players. On September 24, 2015, Marte's four singles against the Rockies at Coors Field gave him 13 hits in the four-game series to tie him with Hall of Famer Pie Traynor for the most hits by a Pirates player in a four-game series. Marte went 13-for-20 (.650) with seven RBIs in the series. Traynor had 13 hits from Aug. 2-4, 1928, against the Phillies.
May 5, 2018: Marte hit an inside-the-park home run.
Once Starling Marte saw the ball bounce back past center fielder Lorenzo Cain, he knew he was going to head for home.
"My entire life, I've been waiting for something like this," Marte said through a translator. "Especially when I started playing in the Minor Leagues, this is something I dreamt about."
June 14, 2021: Marlins center fielder Starling Marte was named the NL Player of the Week
In seven games, the veteran outfielder posted a .500 batting average (14-for-28) with two homers, one double, five RBIs and a 1.298 OPS. He also stole four bases without being caught.
Another first-time Player of the Week Award winner, Marte is the first Marlins player to earn National League honors since Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna split the award after the final week of September 2017.
- Starling has the speed to cover a whole lot of ground in center field.
- Marte has enough arm for right field. His arm is both strong and accurate. But really, he is making his more permanent home in left field.
- He makes some tremendous, video highlight plays in the outfield. And he is a superb defensive outfielder. Starling's speed makes up for any mistake of getting a wrong break—he just outruns the ball.
As a left fielder in 2013, metrics show that Marte saved 20 defensive runs—the best rating among all Major League left fielders.
In 2018 for the Pirates, Marte played exclusively in center field.
- In 2015, Marte was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for NL left fielders.
- In 2016, Pirates left fielder Marte won his second Gold Glove award.
Starling has very good speed. He is always a threat to steal a base.
Marte can be too aggressive on the bases. He lets the game speed up on him at times.
- In 2016, Marte stole 47 bases in only 129 games.
- Starling was a perfect 23-for-23 in stolen bases since joining the A's via trade on July 28,2021, before he was thrown out by Salvador Perez. Despite his streak coming to an end, Marte owns the second longest streak of successful stolen base attempts by a player to start their A's career. Mitchell Page holds the record with 26, which was set in 1977. And Marte's 23 stolen bases are the most by an A's player since Rajai Davis had 26 in 2017. (Falkoff - mlb.com - 9/15/2021)
May 18–end of July 2010: Marte underwent surgery on his left hand to remove the hook of an injured hamate bone. Dr. Mark Baratz performed the surgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
November 1, 2011: Starling left a winter league game while for the Leones del Escogido club in the Dominican Winter League, feeling tightness in his groin.
August 19-Sept 7, 2012: Marte was on the D.L. with a strained right oblique muscle. He was injured beating out a bunt single.
August 19-Sept 8, 2013: Starling was on the D.L. with a right hand sprain and contusion.
July 17-Aug. 5, 2014: Marte was on the 7-day concussion DL.
Sept 28-Oct 3, 2016: Marte was on the DL with back tightness.
May 16-26, 2018: Marte was on the DL with right oblique strain.
April 19, 2019: Pirates center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez both exited the 4-1 win over the Giants at PNC Park following a collision in center field. Gonzalez glided back into center field and smashed hard into Marte. Marte appeared to take the brunt of the impact around his ribcage.
April 20-30, 2019: Marte was on the IL with abdominal wall contusion.
Sept 27, 2020: Marte was replaced in the second after being struck on the brim of his helmet by a pitch. Marte suffered a left ear contusion, with the bruise caused by his helmet being dislodged. Marte was day-to-day.
Sept. 30, 2020: Marte suffered a broken left hand when he was again hit by a pitch.
Marte was struck by a pitch in the Marlins’ 5-1 victory over the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Series opener at Wrigley Field. A source told MLB.com that an X-ray revealed Marte sustained a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his left hand. Miami still considers his status as day to day.
April 19, 2021: Marte will miss at least one week after being diagnosed with a fractured left rib.
April 20-May 28, 2021: Marte is on the IL. An MRI revealed that Starling sustained a non-displaced fracture in his 12th rib (left side). He will refrain from activity for five to seven days before being re-evaluated.
Sept 4, 2021: A's manager Bob Melvin said Marte was feeling "all right" after a scary incident in which he was hit on the helmet by a pitch on Sept. 3. Marte remained out of the starting lineup on Sept. 4 out of precaution, as he still felt some soreness in the area where he was hit, though a concussion has been ruled out after going through protocol on Sept. 3.
Sept 28, 2021: Marte was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight day as he deals with soreness in his left lat. A's manager Bob Melvin said Marte did show progress by taking some swings in the cage before the game, but a target date for his return is still uncertain. He was day-to-day.
June 7, 2022: Marte, who departed the game after his left quadriceps tightened up, said his leg was feeling better and that he did not anticipate needing an IL stint. Both Marte and manager Buck Showalter declined to state the exact nature of the injury, calling it merely “tightness.”
June 15, 2022: Marte departed the game in the sixth inning after Brewers starter Corbin Burnes struck him on the right forearm with a 97 mph sinker. X-rays taken in the clubhouse came back negative for a fracture, and Marte was day to day with a bruise.
Sept 10, 2022: Marte was placed on the 10-day injured list with a partial non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger.
Oct 3, 2022: Marte was still unable to grip a bat with both hands, making it unlikely he’ll be able to return before the end of the regular season.
April 9, 2023: Marte exited the Mets' series finale against the Marlins with a neck strain after sliding headfirst into third baseman Jean Segura on a stolen base in the bottom of the first inning. Marte was removed from the game after his head collided with Segura's left knee,
July 17-Aug 4, 2023: Marte was on the IL with migraines.
Aug. 7, 2023: The Mets placed Starling Marte on the IL with a groin strain.
Sept 22, 2023: Marte played in a simulated game Sept. 19 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., marking his most significant progress yet in his bid to return to the field by the end of the 2023 season.