Diamondbacks Acquire Starling Marte In Exchange For 2 High-Upside Prospects
The Pirates teardown took another major step forward Monday with a trade that sent Starling Marte to the D-backs in return for high-ceiling and far away prospects Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone.
Marte was the final remaining player from the last Pirates team to win a playoff game—the 2013 club that won 94 games and lost in the National League Division Series to the Cardinals.
With Marte gone, Pittsburgh has jettisoned its highest salary ($11.5 million this year and $12.5 million team option with a $1 million buyout in 2021). In return for Marte, the Pirates have added a pair of high-upside prospects who likely will not be MLB-ready until three or four years from now.
For the D-Backs, the move is another big step in a busy offseason. They have the prospect depth to trade Peguero and Malone after having seven first-day picks in last year’s draft, which gave them a chance to add a significant number of high-upside prospects. The club’s international scouting department has done an excellent job of adding toolsy performers as well.
Peguero ranked No. 7 and Malone ranked No. 9 on the D-Backs Top 10 Prospects list.
Starling Marte, OF
Marte is under contract for the next two seasons, assuming the D-Backs exercise the $12.5 million team option for 2021. Over those two seasons, Marte can be expected to provide the D-backs with a solid middle-of-the-order bat who provides solid speed and power numbers. He has never been particularly patient hitter, but he has always been able to hit for average (a .287 career hitter) which allows him to post .330-.340 on-base percentages despite never walking more than 35 times in a season. For a D-Backs team that had already added Madison Bumgarner to its rotation this offseason, Marte adds yet another solid regular to a lineup full of useful bats, if few stars.
Llover Peguero, SS
The revamped D-backs system is full of far-away jewels, and Peguero is strongly a part of that cluster. He’s a wiry, muscular shortstop with gifts on both sides of the ball, including potentially above-average tools in every category except power. He ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Pioneer League and the No. 8 prospect in the short-season Northwest League, where he served as the starting shortstop in the second half for eventual-champion Hillsboro. He currently projects to have average power, but his body has projection left and could add juice as he gains strength. His speed and athleticism and would play well in center field if he has to move off the dirt. After a strong stint at Hillsboro, his next stop should be low Class A Greensboro.
Brennan Malone, RHP
Malone was considered one of the best, and particularly one of the highest-ceiling, prep pitchers in the 2019 draft class. The D-Backs landed him with the 33rd overall pick, spending $2.2 million to nab him as one of their seven first-day picks. Malone has shown he can reach the upper 90s with his fastball and sits 92-95 mph. His slider and curveball both flashed plus as an amateur, with his slider showing more consistent bite and depth in 2019. He also has shown feel for a potentially average changeup. He struggled with wildness in a very short (8 innings) pro debut. Malone is years away from the majors, but he has the makings of a potential front-of-the-rotation starter if everything clicks. Admittedly, the success rate of clicking for his demographic (hard-throwing first-round prep pitcher) is quite modest over the past decade.