Marte was signed late last year by the Pittsburgh Pirates after he was let go by the Cleveland Indians. It seemed like a pretty mundane signing, the Pirates most likely hoping to find lightning in a bottle in the form of a post-hype prospect. But according to GM Neal Huntington, that just wasn’t the case:
We knew exactly what we were doing when signing Andy Marte. We, as an organization, wanted to keep in line with Pittsburgh’s rich history of failed top prospects. Pedro Alvarez had a good, not great rookie year. It was exactly what we were looking for from our top farmhand. Just enough production to tantalize fans but with all the proper warning signs; low batting average, high strikeout numbers, poor K/BB ratio. That’s where Andy comes in.
Marte, who was once the No. 1 prospect in a Boston organization that included Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia, feels that the work he put in with Alvarez during spring training will pay off:
I was excited when Neal called me last year concerning Pedro Alvarez. I saw a lot of myself in Pedro and felt I had a lot to offer in the form of tutelage. He has the high strikeouts and all, but does he reeeeealllly know how to fail at the big league level? That’s where I come in.
The Pirates recent history of failed top prospects include Steven Pearce, Bryan Bullington and John Van Benschoten. They’ve also taken in several strays from other organizations such as Lastings Milledge, Andy Laroche and Jeff Clement. And that is just to name a few…seriously.
With Marte guiding the way it is safe to believe that Alvarez will disappoint Pirates fans like many other hyped draft picks. The 2011 season could prove to be quite important when determining the career path for Alvarez. Marte had these closing comments before reporting to his minor league assignment:
If Pedro can hover right above the Mendoza Line while providing mediocre power from a premium offensive position and parlay it into a six year major league career….then I would say that my work here is done.