Pirates Excited To See Starling Marte





PITTSBURGH — General manager Neal Huntington, speaking to 500-plus fans at the team's winter festival in late January, called outfield prospect Starling Marte "a phenomenal five-tool talent."

Manager John Russell then mentioned Marte as part of a short list of players that Pittsburgh fans could see soon.

Not bad for a kid fresh off his first year in North America, most of it with low Class A West Virginia.

Marte, 21, does, indeed, have the tools to go with a sculpted 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. In addition to his .312/.377/.439 batting line, he has plus-plus speed that brought 24 steals, good promise in the outfield despite seven errors, and perhaps the best outfield arm in the system. All that is missing so far is power—three home runs in 221 at-bats—but he hits enough line drives that scouts see potential there, too.

"The physical tools are obvious and impressive, so you don't have to watch him long to like what you see," director of player development Kyle Stark said. "He will show you all five tools. You can see the speed, defense, arm, and ability to barrel the baseball now, but you have to project a little more on the power.
"Plate discipline, while not one of the traditional five tools, can be a separator for guys, and Marte has to continue to improve in this area, too."

Marte was signed for $85,000 in early 2007 by Rene Gayo, the Pirates' Latin American scouting director, and Josue Herrera. If he makes it all the way to Pittsburgh, he will be the first Latin American amateur signing to do so since second baseman Jose Castillo, who was signed in 1997.

TREASURE TROVE

• Lefthander Daniel Moskos, the Pirates' first-round pick in 2007, is expected to be promoted to Triple-A and will be sent back to the bullpen after two years of starting.

• Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and righthander Tim Alderson are expected to start the season in Double-A. Righthander Bryan Morris is slated to begin in high Class A.