Found July 26, 2012 on Pirates Prospects:

The Pirates are hoping Starling Marte can fill the inconsistent production from their corner outfield positions this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled with consistency coming from their corner outfield positions and the leadoff spot in the lineup so far in 2012. The production they’ve had in left has combined for just a .195/.242/.317 line. Their leadoff spot in has hit just .217 on the year. Both numbers are well belong league average and need to improve drastically for the Pirates to remain in the playoff race.

“You like consistency in all areas,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “When you don’t have them, you find another way to get it done. The challenges that the game presents, with your organizational depth can either help you, or performance levels as they spark or falter, you’ve got to adjust accordingly. You always like more consistency everywhere around. We knew there might be some challenges with the personnel. I think overall we’ve done the best we can with what we have, with where we are.”

The Pirates are hoping that prospect Starling Marte can fill that void.

Marte, 23, joined the team in Houston and was activated prior to the game tonight against the Astros. The outfielder will make his Major League debut for the Pirates after posting a .286/.347/.500 line with Triple-A Indianapolis. Marte hit a career-high 12 home runs (tying his total with Double-A Altoona in 2011) while hitting 21 doubles, 13 triples and stealing 21 bases in 33 attempts.

Marte, who has played primarily center field in his professional career, was recently moved to the corner outfield positions to get reps. Due to his speed, his fits well in the Pirates spacious left field at PNC Park, but his strong arm could also give him ample time in right.

One of the reasons for the inconsistency in the corner outfield position has come from Jose Tabata, who was demoted to Triple-A to regain his focus and get back on track. Alex Presley also struggled in 2012, and was sent to Indianapolis to get back on track.

“That’s been a work in progress,” Hurdle said. “We’re trying to help him find that confidence level and that productivity that he experienced last year when he came up. One area of commitment that he’s working on is just covering that ball away much better. I think recently he has showed some patience.”

Presley has hit for a .231/.269/.364 line, and hitting for just a .179 clip over his last 10 games. The outfielder broke camp with the club this season for the first time in his big league career, expecting to be their everyday left fielder, but hasn’t been able to repeat his numbers from last year. In 52 games in 2011, Presley was solid at the top of the lineup finishing with a .298 average, but has struggled at the plate with consistency this season.

“He got on base, led off innings and scored some runs, which is always good to see from the guy at the top of your order,” Hurdle said. “As Alex will tell you, the league punches back. Once you find success, they find ways to counteract that success. He’s been challenged with trying to find his way back.”

“He’s always shown the ability to handle the ball in the middle of the plate. They’re spending a little more time on the outer third and we got to get him to a better place when he strikes that ball, when he swings at it. The soft and the spin, continue to find ways to barrel that up as well. It’s been a challenge for him. It’s one that he’s beating everyday and trying to go out there and improve upon. That’s part of a young player coming up especially with all the other things going on. You’ve got a competitive team winning games. No one out there wants to be the weakest thing at any particular point in time.”


First Pitch: Why I Don’t Think the Pirates Are Done After Marte Promotion

After it was announced that Starling Marte would be promoted tomorrow, I started getting the following question on Twitter: Do you think the Pirates will make any more moves now that Starling Marte is up? My answer: yes. My reasoning: look at the pitching. The pitching staff has been strong this year. Not only has it been strong, but it has depth. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, and previously...

Starling Marte Lands in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Starling Marte came out swinging. The rookie deposited the first MLB pitch he saw into the stands for a home run. It’s a fitting introduction for the young outfielder who possesses immense talent but his approach at the plate suggests he won’t fully tap into his potential unless he makes some adjustments. A notoriously-aggressive hitter, Marte did...

First Pitch: Marte Partay

We spent a ton of time this summer talking about when Starling Marte would be ready. I think a lot of that discussion was centered around the idea of making sure Marte would be ready. I also think that if you ask what the ideal debut would be, the response would be similar to what we saw tonight: home run on the first pitch, a multi-hit night, and an at-bat where he went deep in...

Pirates' Starling Marte Homers on First Big League Pitch

Pittsburgh Pirates fans have been waiting to see top prospect Starling Marte in action. Last night, he didn't disappoint. The young Dominican outfielder homered on the first pitch he ever saw in the Majors. He took a Dallas Keuchel cutter into the left-center field seats. Your browser does not support iframes. Marte knew something special was going to happen in his at bat,...

Starling Marte joins Kaz Matsui in exclusive club

Throw the term "exclusive company" around when it comes to baseball, and you think of the 3,000 Hit Club or the 500 Home Run Club.  But baseball history is filled with little nuggets of statistical quirks. Take for example what Starling Marte did Thursday night.  The first pitch he saw as a Major Leaguer went big fly; he was the 28th player to accomplish...

Pirates prospect Marte goes yard in first MLB at-bat

The Pittsburgh Pirates are 14 games over .500. It’s almost August. A.J. Burnett is now 12-3. They sit just two back of the Reds in the NL Central. Andrew McCutchen is a franchise player and MVP candidate. Can things get any better for the Bucos? Wait, is this happening? The answers to both those questions may be yes. Starling Marte seems to symbolize that hope and optimism. Marte...

Marte to Make Debut; Hernandez Optioned

The Pittsburgh Pirates made several moves on Thursday. They optioned outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A Indianapolis. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was added to the 25-man roster. Rodriguez was acquired from the Houston Astros on Saturday night in exchange for three prospects. His next scheduled start is TBA. Rodriguez last started on Monday. Prospect Starling Marte was also officially...

Game 98: Pirates 5 Astros 3

On the bus home tonight, a thought popped into my head. It flitted in and out pretty quickly, but it was definitely there. "What if Starling Marte homers in his first at-bat?"I didn't really have an answer, and I pushed the thought out pretty quickly. I always ask that when a player makes a debut, because it's such a cool thing to have a player homer in his first...

Tater Trot Tracker: Trot Times for July 26 by Larry Granillo

Starling Marte got the party started on the first pitch he saw last night, so let's keep it going. Right to the trots! Home Run of the Day: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates - 18.46 seconds [video] The major league debut for Pittsburgh's heralded prospect. On the first pitch he saw as a big leaguer, Marte powered the ball over the left-centerfield wall in Houston...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros – Game 98

I can’t believe the Pirates lost a series to the Cubs.  I know it happens to the best teams but it was pathetic. Recap. Starling Marte has been promoted. Four games, count em four games at Houston.  The Pirates need them all. The Astros were a bad team to begin with.  At this point they [...]

Errors And Former Tribe Pitcher Defeat Indians

Pawtucket Red Sox  4,  Indianapolis Indians  2 (Box)   Starling Marte is on his way to the Pirates.   Starling Marte may have just played his last game as an Indianap0lis Indian, at least for a while, and it would have been nice to send him off with a win.  Unfortunately 3 Indian’s errors and an excellent start by former Indy Indian Nelson Figueroa, prevented that from happening...

Pirates hand Astros 10th loss in row

HOUSTON (AP) -- Prized prospect Starling Marte homered on his first major league pitch and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to an early lead before holding on for a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night. A.J. Burnett (12-3) shut out the Astros for seven innings before Chris Johnson and Carlos Corporan connected for solo homers in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-2, bringing...

Dugout Digest - an awesome debut

I posted a video of Starling Marte's homer on his first career pitch last night, and that was pretty cool. But this isn't the debut I'm talking about. Mets prospect Matt Harvey made his major league debut last night in Arizona, and he led New York to a 3-1 win. Harvey exceeded all expectations, going 5 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing three hits, walking three...
Pirates News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.