Jose Marte Could Impact Angels' MLB Bullpen This Season
Righthander Jose Marte caught the eye of Angels manager Joe Maddon this spring, and not just because of his heavy two-seam sinking fastball, which averaged 96.7 mph and featured 23.8 inches of vertical drop and 13.5 inches of horizontal movement in four big league relief appearances last season.
“I like Marte a lot,” Maddon told reporters after Marte’s second Cactus League outing. “He’s a completely different human being than we saw last year. He’s in better shape. Everything moves better. He was able to throw 97 last year, but now he’s able to do that on a more consistent and longer basis.”
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Marte, who signed with the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, was one of three prospects the Angels acquired from San Francisco for reliever Tony Watson last July 30.
The 26-year-old did not rise above Class A in his first four pro seasons, but after idling in 2020, he moved from the rotation to the bullpen in 2021 and rose to Double-A and Triple-A before making his MLB debut in late August.
Marte got some additional seasoning in the Dominican League last winter, recording a 2.45 ERA in eight appearances for Licey, while striking out six and walking four in 7.1 innings. He looked sharp in his first two outings this spring, totaling two scoreless innings.
Marte’s sinker consistently plays as a plus pitch when he keeps it down in the zone. He also throws a slurvy 85-86 mph slider that has more drop than horizontal break. He replaced the changeup he threw earlier in his career with an 87-88 mph cutter.
Marte has improved his control since 2019, when he struck out 80 and walked 44 in 74 innings for High-A San Jose.
If he can continue to harness the command of his fastball, improve the consistency of his secondary pitches and finish off hitters once he gets them to two strikes, he’ll have a chance to contribute to the Angels this season as a middle reliever with the ability to throw more than one inning.