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Hurdle on Marte: ‘We’re not changing our minds’

BRADENTON, Fla. – No matter how well Starling Marte performs, he won’t make the Pirates.

That point had to be emphasized anew today after Marte homered and singled off Philadelphia All-Star Cliff Lee in a 3-2 victory over the Phillies at McKechnie Field. Marte finished 2 for 4 to leave his spring totals at a .500 average, three home runs, four RBIs and two steals.

“We’re not going to change our minds,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We want the total package when he arrives.”

Management’s plan is to have Marte, a 23-year-old elite outfield prospect, open the season in Class AAA – his first time above the Class AA level – mostly to improve on his selectivity at the plate. He led the Eastern League with a .332 average last season, with an on-base percentage of .370. The Pirates want to see more power – he had 12  home runs and 50 RBIs in 536 at-bats – and believe it’s very much there.

Marte made clear he has no issue with knowing he’s headed to Indianapolis.

“Everything is good,” he said. “I’m feeling good about how I’m playing here, but the communication has been good. I know I can learn.”

Does Marte feel he’s ready for the majors?

“Yes, of course,” he replied with a smile.

Marte’s home run came on what all concerned all acknowledged was a mistake pitch by Lee, easily clearing the left-field fence even with the wind blowing in.

“Right down the plate,” Marte said. “Thank God I was able to get the barrel on it.”

“It was left out there, but Marte’s hitting well,” Hurdle said. “He takes a fierce swing up there.”

Here’s a video. That’s first base coach Luis Silverio on the translation …



  1. techrat_77 says:

    It’s been such a long time since that kind of talent was actually waiting in the wings.

  2. JAL says:

    Seems reasonable to have him spend time in AAA. AAA is where you see pitchers who are close to the majors and some who have MLB experience.

  3. Kevin in indy says:

    Just glad we’ll get to see him in Indy for awhile. No need to rush him.

  4. rinsana says:

    Hey techrat_77, I am assuming you do not remember when they had the dynamic offensive outfield trio of Bay, McLouth (a gold glover that season), and Nady in 2008 with a pretty big talent waiting in the wings that eventually led to the departure of McLouth to the Braves and he is now the cornerstone of the franchise??? hmmm the name is at the top of my head but can’t seem to remember it….oh wait a second, his name is Andrew McCutchen. you know, the guy the franchise just committed 52 millions dollars to because of his talents?

  5. Arriba Wilver says:

    techrat_77–actually it’s only been since ’09, when Cutch was waiting, but before that . . . . . .

  6. Kevin says:

    I think you have to give the Pirate FO credit. They formed a plan, are working the plan and are not deviating from the plan. Marte to Indy, while partly unpopular, is the right thing to do for his development.

  7. pgherinfl - Carl says:

    As has been stated before, he’s batting against guys who are doing things to get ready for the season. Some may not even be in the big leagues after ST is done. Pitchers are maybe trying new pitches or just not throwing how they will when the games count.

    JAL is right. The experience will do him good. He’ll be up soon enough if, as expected, some of the guys do not progress.

  8. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think Rene Gayo found him under Littlefield (no, Littlefield and McClatchy ignored Latin America too long, so I’m not saying kudos to them overall). Actually, I think Nutting when he took control (whenever you think that was) was the one who saw what they had missed, and made Littlefield do the perp walk.

    DK: Correct all around, AW.

  9. cosmo says:

    don’t rush him, remember they had jose guillen jump from AA to the majors.
    he didn’t last too long in pittsburgh after that

  10. Chico says:

    Props to Marte. He will be here soon enough. Let the kid go to AAA and work on his game. Things will be interesting in the FO if and when Marte is ready and the Bucs have 3 of’s performing at a swell level. Who would get thrown out there as trade bait?

  11. Thundercrack says:

    “Thank God I was able to get the barrel on it.”

    Sounds like Clint has been giving that kid vocabulary lessons.


    DK: Nicely done. You might be right.

  12. Milo Hamilton says:

    The word “prospect” is thrown around much too often. This guy is a prospect.

  13. The dude says:

    Saw Marte play here in Erie last year. He is a really exciting player. Looking forward to see him in the outfield with Cutch and Tabata.

  14. Will says:

    Has the Pirates FO dropped any hints as to what will happen when Marte is considered ready for a call-up? McCutchen’s thoughts on eventually moving to LF?

  15. Poor Panthers 2012 says:

    The pirates haven’t had talent anywhere close to this since the early 90’s with bonds, bonilla, van slyke, drabek etc. Cutch, marte, tabata, alvarez are all world class talents and very much needed to compete…i’m quite sure that all of this talent will not be fully realized, but other players may exceed their perceived ceilings too…like presley for example??

    it’s a stark contrast from the same franchise that was signing jeromy burnitz not so long ago.

  16. Jeff says:

    I also saw marte play a bunch of times in Erie last yr. Not only can the guy hit but he has the best arm in out system. He threw a guy from Erie tagging from third out at the plate from the warning track on a 1 hop. Best throw ive ever seen in person.

    DK: Remember the story, Jeff, of the 103-mph throw in Altoona last year?

  17. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I agree with this move 110%.

    @Will-The one thing this FO won’t do, is drop hints about ANY player.

    This is a great problem to have and its been along time since the Buccos have had this situation. Farm system is getting deep with great talent. He’s just the tip of the iceberg of talent.

    On that note, I’ve said the whole time, Marte will take over LF for sure next season, and Alex Presley will be the 4th OFer. If Presley falters this season, Nate would be the trade bait and Marte will come up in June/July to take over LF.

  18. John Lease says:

    Let’s not get sticky drooling. He’s played in AA, and done very well. Long way to go to the majors, nor is their a rule against having multiple good players, so enough of the shipping out the second anyone new gets here.


  19. BigDaddyHoss says:


    I do remember that 103 mph throw from the outfield in altoona last year. The thing I like is about Marte is the defense and arm strength. Those tools travel even when the bat struggles. Also, his bat was consistent last year and he has hit thus far this spring (although we all know spring training mashers can faulter, ie Mark Johnson). But I don’t think he will faulter at AAA. He is a compelling story, for sure.

    All these people worrying what to do with a loaded outfield is comical. Even if you have four good outfielders (and the Pirates are far from that), that doesn’t mean you have to trade one. Good teams have depth. It has been so long since the Pirates have been good, fans do not know how to handle depth. Anyone heard of injuries?

  20. PigLegs Robinson says:

    Hey, don’t worry about keeping him in the minors for a little while longer. Back in the late 60’s & early 70’s, when the Pirates farm sytem was pumping out good hitting on a constant basis, a lot of guys had to spend extra years waiting their turn. I remember Richie Zisk had to stay in triple a two years in a row (even though he hit very well the first time) just because there was no room for him in the outfield. It didn’t hurt him any, he hit fine in the majors once a spot opened up.

    I expect Jose Tabata to turn it up a couple notches this season and stay healthier though, knowing what is waiting right over his shoulder.

  21. PigLegs Robinson says:

    I agree with BigDaddy Hoss there about the fans not knowing how to handle depth. I’ve been saying the same thing to many short-sighted comment posters lately. They are so worried about where to put the prospects coming up, it is comical.
    I believe it really is the reason – that they have known losing teams so long they havent a clue about the make-up of a winning team. It is that excellent depth which made world series winners of the 1971 and 1979 teams. The Pirate fans of the past 30 years can’t handle seeing a good player not being the starter. It just doesn’t compute for them.

  22. TonyPenafirHOF says:

    I saw that play in Erie as well. It reminded me of a play I saw in Pittsburgh one time by Jose Guillen. Ball was hit to wall in right w/Kenny Lofton running from first. He stopped at third which was odd, until we saw the frozen rope Guillen threw to home. 30 years of watching baseball and these two throws were the best I have ever seen.

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