Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Andy Marte's fall from grace

One item that can separate a  good organization from a great organization is the ability of a club to scout, draft, and develop young talent.  The role of prospects is something that many bloggers have a great passion about.  Writers will make a list of the top prospects in an organization and that can be ever changing.

Last week the Indians decided to part ways with a player that had been considered by many to be one of the top prospects over the last five years or so.  Andy Marte had been a highly touted prospect in the Braves organization during the mid-2000s.  According to Baseball America's list of top prospects in 2004 Marte was the 11th ranked prospect. This was a list that included many current Twins players (ranking): Joe Mauer (1), Delmon Young (3), Justin Morneau (16), JJ Hardy (19), and Jesse Crain (89).

The next season he was also highly ranked by Baseball America's scouting reports.  Marte moved up two spots to number nine.  Current members of the Twins also populated the 2005 list: Joe Mauer (1), Delmon Young (3), Jason Kubel (17), JJ Hardy (28), and Jesse Crain (63).

The final year that Marte was on Baseball America's top prospects list was the 2006 season.  Once again he found himself in the top 15 prospects.  Marte was listed as the 14th best prospect in baseball.  The members of the current Twins that were considered top prospects that year were Delmon Young (1), Fransisco Liriano (6), Matt Moses (75), Glen Perkins (91), and Anthony Swarzak (100).

The question that remains is what happens to a player that seems to have all of the talent in the world and
that talent never transfers to the big leagues?

Marte was traded twice in a span of six weeks during the 2005 season.  On the day he went to the Indians I remember being scared that he had ended up in the AL Central.  I didn't want the Twins to have to face Marte and the Indians as they began to stock-pile young talent.

Here we are a little over five years later and Marte will have a tough time finding another job in the big leagues.  His production just hasn't been there.  The Indians gave him plenty of chances at multiple positions and he couldn't produce the way that he did in the minors.

Did he not have the right attitude?
Could he not make the adjustments to major league level pitching?
Was Cleveland not the right atmosphere for a player to develop in?

The batting statastics at the major league level are horrid for Marte.  Here is a stat that I think might be the heart of the issue. Against Power Pitchers (pitchers in the top third of the league in strikeouts and walks) he is a career .193 hitter with a .601 OPS.  To give some perspective on that I will show you a comparison of the only Twins player that was on all three prospect lists with Marte, Delmon Young.  Against Power Pitchers Young is a .234 hitter with a .589 OPS. Granted Young's numbers are over three times as many games but you can see the comparison.

The place that Young makes a huge leap compared to Marte is in Finesse Pitchers (pitchers in the bottom third of the league in strikeouts and walks).  Marte was a .224 hitter and had a .657 OPS.  Young feasts on these lower level pitchers over his career.  He has compiled a .331 BA with a .862 OPS.

If I had just shown you the statistics for Young and Marte against the Power Pitchers, you might have said that they were very comparable.  The problem is that Marte wasn't able to improve himself against the lower level pitchers. To make it in the major leagues a prospect needs to develop this consistency.

No consistency = unemployment for Andy Marte

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