Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm talking to you, Greg Brown

Everyone needs to calm down about Starling Marte.

One pitch into his career and he's gone from "top prospect" to Haile Selassie II. We need to go back for just a minute and think, people. I don't know who started the trend of calling him a blue chip talent, but it's entirely the result of sportspeople knowing NOTHING and the Pirates having an emaciated farm system.

Starling Marte is a 23 year old who has played 6 seasons in the minors. In that time he's struck out almost 4 times as often as he's walked (bad) and walked in only 5% of his plate appearances (also bad). He's apparently fast, which leads to above average success on balls in play. It also means he's existentially obliged to attempt stealing bases (72% success rate in 181 attempts; not detrimental to his team, but far less useful than some sportspeople would think). He's got a bit of HR power, and is pretty good at hitting minor league pitching, despite having a weak command of the strike zone.

How does he compare to other dudes?

Andrew McCutchen was a toolsy dude who produced similar minor league numbers. However, Cutch had a walk rate of almost 10% and a 1.6 K:BB. He also stole bases at a 75% success rate, but again-- not that important.

Jose Tabata was a highly touted, blue chip prospect who put up totally pedestrian minor league numbers and then sucked in the majors. He was highly touted because someone in Central America told a lie and Neal Huntington had nothing else to talk about in those days. Starling Marte is probably better than Jose Tabata.

Alex Presley and Drew Sutton are garbage. Starling Marte is probably better than them.

Garrett Jones could be a much more useful role player if he went back to his career norms in swing/take splits. As it is, he's a stupid asshole. Starling Marte is probably his brethren.

Nate McLouth is wondering if he could crash on your couch this weekend. Starling Marte won't ask that of you for another seven years.

In conclusion: Starling Marte is a capable minor leaguer with a weak approach. This hole in his game will hinder him at the major league level, but a fascination will persist among sportspeople due to his straight-line speed and occasional power.

Tonight Marte showed that power by belting the first pitch of his career for a HR. While Greg Brown is sure he's the next Barry Bonds, I'm pretty sure Dallas Keuchel is just about the worst pitcher in baseball. He's certainly up there.

In his 29 major league innings before tonight, D-Keuch has struck out a whopping 11 batters. He's walked 17 and he's given up 4 dingers. The ERA doesn't reflect it yet, but those are Kipwellian numbers.

Anyway. I hate to always dump on these guys. I fear I'm turning into a more valid, statistically oriented version of Bob Smizik. I really shouldn't complain when we're teeing off on a guy. It's just frustrating to hear wiener broadcasters so off base. Someone has to call it as it actually is.


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