Starling Javier Marte (born October 9, 1988) is a Dominican professional baseball left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2012.
Marte grew up on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. When his mother died, he was nine, his grandmother took care of him.
Minor leagues (2007–2012)
He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, and was primarily a center fielder during his time in the minors. In 2010, Marte played for the Pirates' Class A affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders, where he played in 60 games, ending with a batting average of .315. He hit 16 doubles and five triples that season while also stealing 22 bases. Marte represented the Pittsburgh Pirates at the 2011 All-Star Futures Game. In 2011, while playing for the Altoona Curve, Marte was an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star and Post-Season All-Star, a Baseball America Double-A All-Star, a Topps Double-A All-Star, and a Milb.com organization All-Star. On August 15, 2011, Marte was named the EL's player of the week. Marte also won the Eastern League Batting Title with a .332 batting average and was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year. Marte was added to the Pirates 40 man roster on November 18, 2011. Marte was a respected prospect and was ranked number 73 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list in February 2012 and number 56 on Baseball Prospectus's Top 101 Prospect list in February 2012. In 2012, while playing for the Indianapolis Indians, Marte was named an International League Mid-Season All-Star. On July 2, 2012, Marte was named the International League player of the week.
Major leagues (2012–present)
On July 26, 2012, Marte was promoted from the Triple A Indianapolis Indians to the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the first graduate of the Pirates' Latin American complex, located in the Dominican Republic, to reach the major leagues. He hit a home run on the first pitch he faced in his major league career, off Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The hit made Marte the third player in Pirates' franchise history to homer in his first at-bat and the first to do it since Don Leppert in 1961. He also became the first Pirate to homer on the first pitch of his major league career since Walter Mueller did so in 1922.
Marte and the Pirates finalized a 6-year, $31 million deal on March 28, 2014. On August 18, 2014, Marte had his second career multi-homer game in a 7–3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. He won his first career Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2015.
In November 2011, Larry Broadway, the Pirates' director of Minor League operations, said of Marte, "An exciting player to watch, Starling has very good athleticism and speed to go along with the ability to hit. The scary thing is that he is starting to mature physically and is starting to develop power as well. His speed-power-hit combo is going to make him a very fun player to see mature."