STARLING MARTE
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   PIRATES - Suspended
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 180 Throws:   R
DOB: 10/9/1988 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 6  
Birth City: Santo Domingo, D. R.
Draft: 2007 - Pirates - Free agent
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2007 DSL DSL-Pirates                                
2008 DSL DSL-Pirates   65 257 53 76 10 2 9 44 20 8 16 53 .367 .455 .296
2009 CAR LYNCHBURG   1 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000
2009 GCL GCL-Pirates   2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
2009 SAL WEST VIRGINIA   54 221 41 69 9 5 3 34 24 7 12 55 .377 .439 .312
2010 GCL GCL-Pirates   8 26 6 9 3 0 2 5 4 1 1 6 .393 .692 .346
2010 FSL BRADENTON   60 222 41 70 16 5 0 33 22 8 12 59 .386 .432 .315
2011 EL ALTOONA   129 536 91 178 38 8 12 50 24 12 22 100 .370 .500 .332
2012 NL PIRATES   47 167 18 43 3 6 5 17 12 5 8 50 .300 .437 .257
2012 NYP STATE COLLEGE   1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000
2012 IL INDIANAPOLIS   99 388 64 111 21 13 12 62 21 12 28 91 .347 .500 .286
2013 NL PIRATES $500.00 135 510 83 143 26 10 12 35 41 15 25 138 .343 .441 .280
2014 NL PIRATES $516.00 135 495 73 144 29 6 13 56 30 11 33 131 .356 .453 .291
2014 IL INDIANAPOLIS   3 12 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .083 .167 .083
2015 NL PIRATES $1,333.00 153 579 84 166 30 2 19 81 30 10 27 123 .337 .444 .287
2016 NL PIRATES $3,330.00 129 489 71 152 34 5 9 46 47 12 23 104 .362 .456 .311
2017 NL PIRATES   13 54 7 13 1 0 2 7 2 2 3 17 .288 .370 .241
Personal
  • 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 January 2007 for a reported $85,000.

  • Marte is the first tangible result of the Pirates' renewed commitment to scouting Latin America. Signed for $85,000 in January 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.
  • Before 2010 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 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)

  • November 22, 2016: Marte told the local media in the Dominican that he will play in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic.

  • 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. 

    TRANSACTIONS

  • January 2007: Marte signed as a free agent with the Pirates for $85,000.
  • March 26, 2014: Marte and the Pirates agreed on a six-year, $31 million contract extension.
Batting
  • 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."

  • Marte now bats in the middle of the lineup, not leadoff.
  • 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.

  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Starling's career Major League stats were: .289 batting average, 58 homers and 648 hits with 235 RBI's in 2,240 at-bats

Fielding
  • Starling has the fine speed to cover a whole lot of ground in center field. His speed plays better in the outfield than on the bases.
  • 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 2015, Marte was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for NL left fielders.
  • November 2016: Pirates left fielder Marte won his second  Gold Glove award.
Running
  • Starling has very good speed. He is always a threat to steal a base when he is on one. His base-stealing isn't polished, but he'll be dangerous once he masters reads and jumps.

  • Marte can be too aggressive on the bases. He lets the game speed up on him at times.
Career Injury Report
  • 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-September 7, 2012: Marte was on the D.L. with a strained right oblique muscle. He was injured beating out a bunt single in the fifth inning of the Pirates' 5-4 loss at St. Louis.
  • August 19-September 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.