KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.
Starling Marte was selected for the July 11 Triple-A All-Star game. He might not play in it ... for a good reason.
An insider conversation between Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovacevic and a Pittsburgh Pirates higher-up revealed the 23-year-old could soon force his way onto the big-league squad. Jose Tabata's subpar effort could make him Marte's replacement at Indianapolis.
Marte (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) carries a .287-9-49 line with 16 swipes and 51 runs in 300 Indy at-bats, his first taste of the level. The second best offensive prospect in the organization, per Baseball America, boasts a strong power-speed mix that hasn't missed a beat after stampeding over Double-A Altoona last year (.332-12-50, 24 SB, 91 R in 536 AB).
The 20-to-68 (0.29) walk-to-strikeout ratio won't do him any favors as he ascends, but at least his 20 walks nearly match the 22 he took in 536 at-bats last year. He's shown enough progress to earn more confidence.
The suddenly competitive Buccos will be more apt to use whatever sparks they can find, so if Marte continues his surge, he'll be a lineup fixture. He should be owned in all NL formats. If your deep mixed league's free-agent pool doesn't have ample swimmers awaiting a pickup, he deserves consideration.
The Baltimore Orioles have redefined kid gloves in their early handling of super prospect Dylan Bundy, but Buck Showalter didn't write off the 19-year-old righty joining the big club, presumably for a bullpen role, if they're still in the postseason race.
It's still a long shot, though. The organization has been cautious of his routine, and having him develop bullpen habits doesn't seem to jive with their theme of continuity. Maybe their priorities will change if they're still lagging in the late summer, but there's no reason to give thought to making a mixed-league add of the future ace. Maybe if you're desperate in an AL.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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