Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/15/13
Starling Marte‘s minor league numbers paint the portrait of an immensely talented player who could just become another platoon outfielder in the majors. For the most part, Marte will always have some form of fantasy value because he can steal bases, and speed almost always translates to the big league game assuming he can get plate appearances and get on base about 30% of the time. I love his 6’0, 180-pound frame and his history of double-digit homers in the minors. At just 24 years old, Marte looks like a player who could physically mature into a nice 15-20 HR threat if he can learn to put the ball in the air a little more often (which right now might be counterproductive given his role as leadoff hiter). I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but both Andrew McCutchen and Jacoby Ellsbury had low-to-moderate minor league power numbers and each has a 30 HR season, so there’s always a chance. To sum it all up, I like Marte and I see a lot of potential here. But there’s also the potential for him to peter out and become just a source of occasional steals. If you draft him, just know the risks. At a Glance Strengths: SB Neutral: R, BA, SLG, net SB Weaknesses: HR, RBI, OBP, OPS, CS Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Alejandro De Aza (CHW) Likely scenario: Norichika Aoki (MIL), Denard Span (WAS), Ichiro Suzuki (NYY) Worst-case scenario: Jemile Weeks (OAK) Starling Marte 2013 Fantasy Projection Marte is a risky player to target in fantasy drafts this year, but his ceiling is higher than you might expect. On the one hand, I’m not too keen on low-walk players batting leadoff, particularly ones who strike out as much as Marte does (around 20%). Marte does have a lot of speed, though, and he puts the ball on the ground a lot. Like a lot, a lot. That’ll help him stick atop the lineup. And assuming he can bat .260ish, have an OBP of .300-.320 and steal bases at a rate of about 25 per 150 games, then he’ll do enough for Pittsburgh to keep him in that leadoff spot. They don’t really have many other options, so Marte will get every opportunity to succeed. That’ll be key for his fantasy value. Batting ahead of Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, and Pedro Alvarez is pretty good, and that could lead to plenty of runs. When looking at Marte’s potential ceiling, something around 90 R, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 30 SB, .280 BA is completely in play. Of course, we could also look at a low-average season with counting stats marred by little playing time, so Marte isn’t someone your team’s success should hinge on. Instead, he should be a mid-round gamble that puts your team over the top, and for that reason he’s probably a poor player to target in OBP leagues and deep leagues where he need to be a reliable third outfielder.
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